The International Federation of Journalists and its European section, the European Federation of Journalists, today said that it would support legal action on a European and wider international basis against the Government of Romania after a local court effectively endorsed a policy of a government ministry that has delayed payment of wages to media staff for months.
The court in Constanza ruled that journalists and media staff working for the Ministry of Transport would have to live with months of non-payment of wages. MediaSind, the trade union representing the staff, says that the ruling creates a dangerous precedent that may allow other media employers to oblige their employees to work without any clear indication when they might be paid.
The court ruling came after the workforce had taken the Ministry to court over months of non-payment of wages, saying that the case was unnecessary even though the Ministry had admitted that they had not been able to meet their wages and salary obligations since March 25th this year.
“On the face of it this is an astonishing decision,” said Aidan White IFJ and EFJ General Secretary. “Workers are being forced to work without pay and without guarantee of when they will be paid. It shows a profound disregard for workers’ rights and for collective agreements that are supposed to protect employment standards.”
The Romanian trade union is planning to take the case to the court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. “We will support such a move,” said White. “And it appears that this decision is in violation of international conventions and labour standards. It should not be allowed to stand.”
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The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries