The Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM) and the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) at today’s press conference strongly reacted to the events at Alfa TV where six media workers, members of the Trade Union, were fired.
At the press conference addressed by the President of SSNM, Pavle Belovski and AJM, Mladen Chadikovski, it was emphasized that these dismissals follow the protest at the television and represent revenge for union activities, i.e., demands for the fulfilment of workers’ rights.
“I want to inform you, point out and ask for support on this occasion for six of our colleagues, members of SSNM, who this week were fired by Alfa Television and instead of regular salaries, allowances and K-15 for the New Year holidays, received uncertainty about their existence, but also for their families, after the director of Alfa TV, Jani Bojadzi, fired them as a sign of revenge, contrary to the Law on Labour Relations”, said the president of the union, Pavle Belovski.
He stressed that the director of the television “knowingly violates the Law on Labour Relations”, dismissing one of the representatives of SSNM in Alfa Television, whom the Law protects from dismissal, and this decision is explained by business reasons.
“The dismissal of an employee due to participation in trade union activities is in itself unfair and that is why the law provides stronger protection for union representatives, which Bojadzi did not respect,” Belovski said.
He pointed out that Bojadzi’s decision is interpreted as revenge, emphasizing that the dismissal of the six employees is in order to cause fear and uncertainty among other employees and to give up guaranteed rights.
The President of SSNM informed that the case will be reported to the competent labour inspectorate and that they expect a positive solution in favour of the employees. Additionally, for the trade union members, the Trade Union provided legal aid.
Chadikovski, on the other hand, believes that these dismissals at least occur in suspicious circumstances and that this is reflected on several levels of the media sector.
“I want to emphasize that AJM, together with the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers, is at the disposal of media workers through legal mechanisms to help overcome this situation. We warn that this way of group dismissals negatively affects the entire media market, devalues the work of journalists and media workers, creates insecurity in the entire sector and therefore we ask the management of Alfa Television to reconsider its decision,” Chadikovski said.
According to Chadikovski, the dismissal of workers is a difficult act, which in the media sector has a serious impact due to the fragile market and low wages, and additionally affects the reduction of the attractiveness of the profession.
Belovski added that the decision of the director of the television followed a series of union activities undertaken by one hundred employees of Alfa Television, of which 70 members of SSNM, in line with the requirements for the management to regularly pay salaries and contributions, which this year in four occasions were sometimes up to three months late.
”We must also inform that the mediation, or rather the attempt to reason with Bojadzi and to deviate from the intention to settle accounts with the employees, did not yield results, and announced that he would continue the procedure in court,” said the president of SSNM.