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Time of violence for Bobolas’ media empire

14 June 2011 / 21:06:52  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

The crisis in the publishing group Pigasos began after the dismissal of a journalist from the Ethnos newspaper last Friday. Yesterday the Union of Journalists announced a 48-hour strike for the employees in the three editions of the publisher Ethnos, Imerisia and Goal. In response, the owner Fotios Bobolas threatened that if the strike continues he will close all three editions.

Despite what was expected today, the readers were able to read the latest issue of Ethnos, but not those of the economic Imerisia and the sports Goal. It became clear at the afternoon meeting why and how it happened.

The decision to strike was not supported by all during the yesterday's meeting of the employees in the publishing group. A large number of journalists working for the Ethnos newspaper signed a proposal to convene a general meeting of the workers to discuss "the events of recent days and the coming danger of hundreds of their colleagues to become unemployed. " The proposal was even published in the online edition of the newspaper. A meeting but not a general one was held today in the building of the journalist union. Disunity was apparent from the outset. The journalists who had signed the proposal tried to boycott the holding of the meeting, arguing that it should not be organized by the trade union body for those working in the media but by the publishing group Pigasos workers themselves.

However, they stayed and were informed, along with all others, on the course of the meeting that union representatives had with the owner of the media Fotios Bobolas earlier today. According to them, he said that the journalists' union attacked him directly. To support his position, he stated that in cases of redundancies in other media, the Union of Journalists did not respond their ownes the same way. Fotios Bobolas said that the policy of cost cutting and companies "rescue" will continue, but did not state clearly whether it would include redundancies. Also, he did not explicitly repeated his threat to close all three editions. Fotios Bobolas told the newly elected members of the Union of Journalists to inform the Union of Publishers, whose deputy chairman he is, when the Executive Board is formed to meet and discuss the issues concerning the collective labour agreement. He said he would not cancel his order for the dismissal of Poppy Hristodoulidou and that he is waiting for the court's decision on the strike.

Representatives of the employees in the three newspapers have expressed their solidarity with their dismissed colleague and their belief that the events in Pigasos are only the beginning of an avalanche that will drag all the Greek media. According to them, the reaction "against the methods of employers should be carried in all media and we should decide all together what will be our position against them. "
Then began the debate about the events in Ethnos, Imerisia and Goal. The majority of journalists criticised their colleagues who have broken the strike and have submitted articles for the today's edition. They, in turn, defended their position, saying that a dismissal could not put at risk the jobs of hundreds of people.

Unionists welcomed the decision of their colleagues from Imerisia not to make the today's edition of the newspaper, although most of them have signed the text, which opposes the strike. "I will not allow anyone to play with the bread of our colleagues from Goal News, most of whom get the lowest salaries in the publishing group," said their trade union representative.

The voices raised and one of the oldest journalist, who was in the first team since the beginning of the reissue of the historical newspaper Ethnos, advised her younger colleagues to be united. "We know Bobolas methods very well. There are ongoing privatizations now, and surely he will want to take a piece of the pie. To do this he needs the newspapers. " Whether Fotios Bobolas is bluffing and blackmailing or is actually determined to close the newspaper was among the most debated issues, but the journalists working there were unable to reach to an agreement about it.

A little later the court declared the strike in Ethnos and Goal illegal. This means that the three editions of the publishing group Pigasos will appear tomorrow at kiosks like every morning, despite the uncertainty faced by the authors of their articles.

Tags: MediaPegasus PublishingEthnosImerisiaDismissalStrikeClosureJournalistsUnionists
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