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Cloudy future of renewed state television ERT

11 June 2015 / 16:06:26  GRReporter
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The two channels of Greek state television ERT-1 and ERT-2 began operating today as well as the programmes of the Greek National Radio. What is happening behind the microphones and cameras, as there are many open issues, many more unclear things, and the atmosphere is not so suitable for a new beginning with a number of "factions" - old, new, intermediate, that are far from harmonious relationships? It could be said that there is some ‘disturbance’ (to use a softer expression), in the hope that the desired balance will come over time.

The main issues to be tackled are the smooth reinstatement of ΕRΤ employees and the allocation of responsibilities. The period within which they can return to work expires on 16 June and after that date, they will lose that right.

How salaries are formed remains a mystery for the time being. How will the salary be calculated of those who will return, will the years of service be taken into account, what will happen to those who have received compensation but want to return?

According to sources, a single payroll table will enter into force for administrative employees, which the former ERT did not use, and a joint ministerial decision for journalists, which is to be announced. It will also arrange the issues of calculating the years of service and the deducting of compensation that the employees have received.

One could ask, and rightly, why this joint ministerial decision has not yet been announced to enable the people to consider whether it suits them to return to work or not. Many of the former employees are worried, especially in view of the discussions on insurances; mothers with minor children are reconsidering the situation. Perhaps the uncertainty caused by the delay of the decision is acting as a counter-incentive.

In any case, though until 16 June it may not be possible to have the exact figures, the number of employees at the new ERT is about 2,000 compared with 2,665 up until 11 June 2013.

Now let us consider the budget issue, as currently, the budgets are in force that the Ministry of Finance has drawn up and included in the medium-term fiscal adjustment.

They were drawn up in 2013 under the current circumstances and forecasted growth of 3-3.5% per year. In this situation, the revenue planned for 2015 amounts to 190 million euro, about 98 million euro of which should be the company’s contribution in the primary surplus of the state budget for 2015. As we know, however, budget and actual receipts are quite different things. Because the receipts from the amounts paid to ERT by electricity suppliers, for example, could be less and the revenue could amount to only 155 million euro. Therefore, if, according to sources, the salary costs of all 2,000 workers amount to nearly 55 million euro a year, there could be no problem this year, but there surely would be next year and it will be significant.

In other words, the calculations will prove incorrect unless something drastic happens such as increasing the contribution, or reducing and/or cancelling the involvement of ERT and its 98 million euro share in the primary surplus of the state budget. However, that depends on the course of negotiations.

 

Tags: ERTState televisionReinstatementBudgetRevenuesFiscal adjustment
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