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Employees in state media receive salaries while on strike

16 January 2012 / 21:01:29  GRReporter
2942 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Shortly before Christmas, the Greek government decided to make a long-awaited gift to journalists in state media. They were deleted from the list of civil servants, whose salaries will be adjusted in compliance with the new payroll table. The Cabinet decision was announced during the third week of their strike.

However, the protests have not faded away. Strikes continue, viewers cannot watch the programmes for which they are obliged to pay 55 euro a year through the electricity bill, while those working for public radio and television stations receive their salaries as in the days when they were working.

In particular, during the strike held on 30 November, only 7.16 per cent or 250 people of the total 3,493 striking employees did not receive salaries. During the strikes on 2, 3 and 4 December, 314, 77 and 77 employees respectively remained without salaries.

As expected, the news has prompted a sharp public response and GRReporter decided to seek the position of the employees’ trade union POSPERT. Its president Panagiotis Kalfagiannis said that the data are incorrect because the salaries of all employees have not yet been accounted yet.

"There is clarity only regarding the payments to employees with temporary contracts, which expire on 18 January. ERT owes many of them weekends and holidays from past years that had to necessarily be used up by that date."

As for other employees who have received their salaries although they were on strike, he explained that they were part of the staff on duty. "Lately, there have continually been strike breaks to present important meetings of the Prime Minister, the political leaders, the developments in PASOK. Do private channels, which take the material from us free, not see that? We need people to provide this and they naturally receive remuneration for their labour."

Panagiotis Kalfagiannis stated as another reason for why strikes do not involve the same number of employees. "Some of the strikes were announced by the Union of Journalists, which has about 500 member journalists from public television. It is quite normal for other categories of employees and even journalists, who are not members of the Union, to work on such days."

According to the trade unions, by submitting "counterfeit" data ERT management is attempting to prevent "our efforts to save the public television."

"And what striking ERT are we talking about? During the strikes, viewers followed the matches and basketball games for the Championship and European Leagues, they watched five radio and television marathons and other programmes on culture; ERT orchestras entertained two thousand visitors of the music hall and tens of thousands of viewers," added Panagiotis Kalfagiannis. He also stressed that under the collective agreement signed by the trade union and the management of ERT, 20% of its employees must be on duty during a strike.

According to the data which the trade unionists consider counterfeit, all employees in each shift are defined as on duty personnel. At the same time, POSPERT has permitted striking employees to work for the needs of the sports sector, for short news broadcasts and everyone else, who Panagiotis Kalfagiannis mentioned in the interview for GRReporter.

Interestingly enough, during the ongoing strike of journalists from 5 to 16 December 2011, the percentage of the employees without salaries ranges from 1.5 to 23.8%. During the 24-hour strike on 10 December 846 out of 859 journalists or 98.5% received salaries like on any other normal working day. How? Some of them actually were working; others were on a leave, while the third group were simply defined as staff on duty.

The management of the television has ordered that an official inspection be conducted in connection with the data that have enraged thousands of Greeks. Unionists are wondering who has supplied them to the press and are preparing to take part in the new 48-hour strike announced for all the Greek media. The majority of journalists do not agree with it but they have to follow it.

Tags: MediaPublic televisionRadioERTTrade unionistsStrikePayment
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