Greece: Journalists strike over bill to close down media fund for social security and welfare

The four IFJ Greek affiliates – JUADN, PFJU, ESIEMTH and ESPIT- on Thursday began a three-day strike following the government plan to close down the Fund which has over 50 years provided social security and welfare for journalists and media workers in Greece. The unions say that this measure is part of the Greek government’s economic review.

The International Federation of Journalists, representing 600,000 journalists in the world, back its Greek affiliates and urges the government to protect the media fund after massive losses of jobs and livelihoods in journalism in recent years.

“This will come as sucker punch to Greek journalists who face losing social protection after seeing their entitlements dwindle over the last few years,” said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “ We fully support their stand in the defence of this Fund and we urge the government to repeal the bill which threatens the future of many journalists who rely on the Fund in old age or those many who are unemployed .”

The draft law on social security reform presented by the Government to be introduced to Parliament in the coming days would end contribution of 20% proceeds on advertising placed in print and broadcasting media to the media fund known as Ageliosimo. Throughout media employers have paid nothing towards journalists and media workers’ social security since Ageliosimo provided the EDOEAP Fund (Unified Subsidiary Social Security and Welfare Press Organization) with social security (pensions and retirement benefits), welfare and medical coverage (doctors, medicine, hospitals, etc.).

The Government wants to implement a unified fund for all workers in Greece, scheduled to come into on 1 January 2017. But the Greek journalists and media workers are left in limbo, fearing for their pensions and medical care guarantees under media fund after the Ageliosimo stops ahead of the starting of this new fund.

The IFJ affiliates in Greece warn that the closure of the EDOEAP Fund would have a devastating consequences s for journalists, including 18,500 workers and their families who will be left with no medical care, no doctor no medicine and no hospital care. The unemployed would lose their welfare assistance and medical care while pensioners would be deprived of hospital and medical care as well as supplementary pensions.

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