RTV Slovenija management surprised at announced strike

Ljubljana – The management of public broadcaster RTV Slovenija is surprised at yesterday’s announcement of a strike by the in-house trade unions, arguing that a number of proposals had been offered to implement the strike demands during the talks in the wake of the 23 May token strike.

“The management regrets that the trade union has intensified its strike activities by abandoning the search for solutions at the negotiating table to the benefit of the street and has distanced the broadcaster and its employees from the common goal of making quality news content,” the management said in a press release on Thursday.

It said it had offered “numerous proposals to implement the strike demands” at six meetings during the talks, which the strike committee had rejected.

The main strike demands are journalistic, editorial and institutional autonomy, changes to staffing policy, a raise in the lowest wages, and that the strike is paid.

The management said in the press release that it had proposed specific solutions to address the lack of staff at TV Slovenija’s news desk to improve working conditions.

It proposed to publish a call for application to hire ten journalist, which TV Slovenija news editors agreed with, but the strike committee refused the offer.

As for editorial autonomy, the management has agreed to set up a task force to examine the alleged violations of news programme standards whose expert opinion would be a basis to take further measures, the management said.

As the unions announced their plan to resume the May strike on 20 June, they also complained about a recent proposal to abolish or scale down on the correspondents in Moscow, Berlin, Brussels and Rome, which form the backbone of RTV Slovenija’s correspondent network outside Slovenia.

According to a report in Thursday’s Večer newspaper, the management would like to send a correspondent to Thailand’s capital Bangkok.

RTV Slovenija does not have a correspondent in Asia, with most of its international network being concentrated in Europe and the US.

Monday’s strike will take place between 2pm and 11m while a rally will be held near the National Assembly in the evening. On the same day, the broadcaster’s programme council will be discussing the proposal on the network of correspondents.

Journalists at RTV Slovenija, particularly news staff at its television division TV Slovenija, have had grievances about the management’s activities over the past year since Andrej Grah Whatmough took over as director general in April 2021, seeing his moves as severely detrimental to the broadcaster.

This has escalated last year when Grah Whatmough proposed a production plan for 2022 under which several flagship shows have already been abolished. He has also engaged in some staff changes which have been met with criticism of bias and incompetence.