Protest against layoffs in Radio-Television of Vojvodina

Photo: UBTU Independence Novi Sad / Facebook

A protest against the announced dismissal of 200 workers of the Radio-Television of Vojvodina, who have been hired through an employment agency, was held today at noon in front of Studio M in Novi Sad.

This is perhaps one of the ugliest days in the history of this public media institution of ours, because our 200 colleagues will lose their jobs tomorrow.

With these words, Darko Šper, the commissioner of the Branch Trade Union for Culture, Arts and Media of the United Branch Trade Union Independence addressed those who gathered at the protest.

The protest was organized by the United Branch Trade Union Independence. Their representatives requested that all workers who were engaged through employment agencies, and who lost their jobs, be hired in Radio-Television of Vojvodina on a permanent basis. The union also made requests regarding the mode of employment; according to the organisers of today’s demonstrations, Vojvodina’s broadcasting service spends more for the services of employment agencies, whose fees are high, than it would if it hired workers regularly.

The union also demands a board meeting of the management of Radio-Television of Vojvodina and Radio-Television of Serbia to be scheduled, in order to discuss an idea to raise the television subscription. That would allow for independent financing of both public services. Representatives of the union added that they will demand the resignation of the RTV management if their demands don’t be fulfilled as soon as possible.

We have warned both the state and the employer on several occasions that their move will not bring any good to our media house, “said Šper.

“Do not sign anything!”

A press conference was held last week in reaction to the announced dismissal of employees at RTV. On that occasion, Independence’s representatives stated that the authorities’ attitude towards the province’s public service hasn’t changed even after they had sent an open letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Ana Brnabić. As the union representatives stated in their announcement, the result of the redistribution of 1.6 million Euros, which were taken away from RTV through budget rebalance and without clear criteria, is the dismissal of 200 employees of the Radio-Television of Vojvodina, who participated in creating media content on daily basis.

In the meantime, this weekend RTV finally started inviting people who will be hired at the Radio-Television of Vojvodina. According to their estimate, it is about 50 people. Darko Šper stated that “What worries us still is that the people who are losing their jobs have not been informed in a manner prescribed by the Labor Law.

He added that only today some of the workers received a notification that they should stop coming to work starting tomorrow.

“We advise them to go to work anyway and not risk falling into a trap and lose their jobs because of the management’s arrogance – on the account of allegedly not coming to work for three days”, Šper told his colleagues. He added that employees who were terminated from the Radio-Television of Vojvodina should go to their superiors and demand that their arrival at work be recorded. According to union representatives, the employer is obliged to serve employees with a written decision that they are redundant, fired or something else. Šper warned his colleagues and reminded them that the union lawyers recommended them not to sign anything until they double check what it is about, so that they can fight for their rights by legal means.

We remind the readers that the Radio-Television of Vojvodina announced the dismissal of 250 employees, mostly journalists but also production workers, who were hired through employment agencies. This number, together with the fired people who received notices in July, will make up 20% of the employees of this broadcasting service.

I.P.

Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić

This article was originally published in Serbian on Aug 31, 2020.

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