The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is supporting the call of its affiliates in Serbia, the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia (NUNS), the Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) together with the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina (NDNV), the Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM), the Business Association of Local Press (LP) who strongly protested against the new mass dismissal of media workers at the Serbian branch of Ringier-Axel Springer, one of the largest press publishers in Serbia.
According information sent to the EFJ, Ringier Axel Springer Serbia dismissed just before Christmas day more than fifteen journalists in daily newspapers Blic an Alo. The dismissals are ongoing without previous adequate discussion with employees and clear criteria. Ringier Axel Springer Serbia has also unofficially prohibited any union activity and organisation, according to some sources on the ground.
According to preliminary findings, the most experienced Serbian journalists are being fired at first after more than 15 years of service. Layoffs are delivered automatically and without prior discussions with workers or workers’ representation, nothing is done in accordance with good business practices and principles of social dialogue.
“The EFJ is inviting the managers of Ringier Axel Springer Serbia to read the code of conduct signed by Ringier Axel Springer Media AG in Switzerland and specifically its article 9 which refers to the compliance with social standards. The timing and the manner used to lay off workers is completely unacceptable and we will inform our affiliates in Germany and Switzerland in order to put pressure on the mother compagny and defend Serbian journalists social rights”, said EFJ in a statement.
In June 2015, the EFJ has already warned the same company for a previous massive dismissal when 30 journalists, employees and regular associates lost their jobs without notice. The repeated bad conduct by Ringier Axel Springer Serbia will be reported at the European level to highlight how EU media companies are badly behaving in Eastern Europe.