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Greece will remain without newspapers and news on TV until Sunday

18 December 2010 / 12:12:28  GRReporter
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Marina Nikolova

 

The strike of journalists today and tomorrow has as a primary request the signing of collective agreements between media owners and the union of journalists, as well as with the other union organizations taking part in the strike as the one of the editors of the periodical digital media, of the staff in the national television and radio, the sellers of newspapers in Athens and Piraeus, the technicians from the private televisions of photojournalists and lithographs.

Greek media and advertising

There is a shrink of the media market, both because of the crisis and the lack of advertisers, but also because of the "bubble" of media that existed unjustifiably supported by the state advertising said before grreporter.info Mr. Dimitris Koumbiyas - Treasurer of the Union of editors of daily newspapers in Athens. "The balloon would have burst at some point, but the economic crisis quickened it to happen. These funds, which served the state advertising currently have a problem because such an advertising does not exist - the state does not even have money to pay its debt. So now there is no public advertising with the only exception of the State Lottery and the state game betting on football matches "Stihima" says Mr. Kumbiyas.

Commercial ads have also decreased, ads are granted only for Sunday newspapers. There also exists the paradox that television viewers increase and advertising decreases, although the rule states that the larger the audience, the more advertisers there are. "Viewers are increasing not only because there are some good programs, serials such as "The Island", which series has the highest rating, but there are very few advertisers. I guess the reason for the increase in viewers is not just the fact that there are quality productions, but also because people spend more time at home", adds Mr. Kumbiyas.

 

Journalists in websites

Another reason for the decline in the industry and the media is the existence of internet. People, for economic or other reason, have left the newspapers behind and learn the news through the Internet and in other different ways. "Maybe the crisis would not have been felt so strongly among us - journalists, if we had convinced in advance to be considered as a media also the internet portals and sites. We would not have had a problem with the jobs. We currently have 21 layoffs in the newspaper "Vima", thirty something layoffs in the newspaper "Ethnos" newspaper, the newspaper "Apogevmatini" was closed down, the newspapers "Katmerini" and "Sky" have about thirty redundancies. In this crisis of the printed press, no one ever hires people, and I am afraid that whoever is fired from now on, will most likely have to change his profession. If he moves to work in a website he formally changes his profession, although they are news web sites. But these people will not be considered journalists because they will not be paid social securities at the Journalists and editors’ Social security office in which journalists working in newspapers, on radio and television participate. We are trying to change the law on that issue and the journalists who work on the Internet to be included in the Insurance Fund. But this is a request to the government. That is why it's not included now in our demands for the strike, which were referred to media owners and the signing of collective agreements. A few months ago in the "broom-law", which was created by the government there was an article 67, under which workers in sites and portals were supposed to be considered journalists and to enter into the insurance fund of journalists which would have solved the problem. Currently they are working as freelance professionals. Unfortunately, this article was not voted upon as the owners of internet portals and advertisers reacted. These journalists may not be included in the Journalists Union, because one of the conditions was for them to have been secured in the social security fund of editors and journalists. This is why I say, that those who were discharged from Vima for example and go to work for an Internet portal may not change their profession in its essence, but formally they can not be secured in the social security fund of the journalists and should become freelance professionals. We are trying to fix this. But there is a difficulty - our founding charter of the Union of Journalists is terribly outdated - since 1978. At that time there were only newspapers, radio and public TV, then came the private radios and televisions and for a period of time employees in the private media then faced the same problem as the one journalists from the sites are currently facing. To change this statute 2 / 3 of the members of the Union of Journalists must gather, which means over 3000 people, which is impossible to happen. The previous statute we were able to change by law and to include in the insurance fund these journalists working in the private media, as we are trying to do now for those who work in sites. But this is not a request, which is associated with the strike," says the cashier of the Union of editors of daily newspapers in Athens, which union also participates in the strike.

 

The case of the newspaper Eleftherotypia

Before opening story for the newspaper "Eleftherotypia" and the open desire of the owner Ms Tegopoulou to sign collective labor contract with the trade unions we state once again that claims related to the strike are related to collective labor contracts,. Just a few days ago came out the news that some Greek newspapers such as "Eleftherotypia", "Elevtero Typs", " Proto theme" and "Real News" want to enter into negotiations with the Union of Journalists and sign a collective labor contract. But according to the words of Mr. Koumbiyas yesterday at the building of the Union turned up only Mrs. Tegopoulou - owner of the newspaper Eleftherotypia to sign the collective agreement.

Owners of the other media who wanted to sign labor contracts, so as not to participate in the strike of the journalists today and for their newspapers to be printed and distributed normally, have not turned up to negotiate, and today they released their papers as "Sunday issues". The desire of Mrs Lambraki to sign an employment contract has not found support from the Union of Journalists. At the meeting which was held in order for a decision to be made, there were two views - to sign the contract and not to sign it, but ultimately prevailed the second viewpoint with the excuse that if a contract with only one newspaper is signed it will be considered as a business contract, and the association of journalists is struggling exactly against the introduction of precisely this type of contracts, explained Mr. Koumbiyas.

It is believed that a collective labor contract for journalists, the Union of Journalists must sign with the Union of the owners, not with each owner separately. "We wanted to sign, whether it was called collective or corporate, but ultimately the opinion not to sign prevailed and the story ended there. Some others suggested, as we face this problem, to cancel the 48-hour strike, but this too failed to pass. This view had a minority with the idea to get out of the dead end street".

In the afternoon there will be a meeting of all the above mentioned unions of employees in the printed and electronic media to take the final decisions because to sign collective labor contracts for media owners all must agree - for example, not only the Union of Journalists, but also the Union of printers and distributors.

Will there be a way out?

The only way out is for the publisher to commit that they will not arrive at the signing of company agreements, as they are not mandatory, but they are an extreme solution, said Mr. Koumbiyas. Publishers have requested to negotiate, but not while the strike continues, so as not to negotiate under pressure. That is why after the strike of the journalists on Sunday (unless tonight they don’t reach a decision for early termination) on Monday they will sit at the negotiating table with the owners of media, but it is also possible not to reach a decision which will lead to new strikes, suggests Mr Koumbiyas.

Tags: News Society newspapers media television strike commercial journalists printers lithography editors distributors
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