Greece: European Journalists Support Greek Media Strike Over Scandalous Risk-taking With Pension Funds

May. 08, 2007

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), today expressed their full solidarity for journalists and their unions in Greece, who will go on a 24 hours media strike on Tuesday 8th May to protest government mismanagement of their pension and insurance funds.

Under political pressure, the managers of workers insurance funds, including the journalists press fund (T.S.P.E.A.TH), invested a considerable amount of fund reserves in bonds with unclear financial terms. The reserves are now in a precarious and high-risk investment bearing unusual long- term and unspecified rates of return.

It appears that the government is playing roulette with the livelihoods of its employees,” said Aidan White, EFJ General Secretary. “Journalists like other workers across the public sector are right to protest over this scandalous risk-taking and to demand new measures to protect rights at work.”

Managers of T.S.P.E.A.TH invested 130 million euro in a 20-year swap-bond in an unclear procedure that gravely endangers the funds ability to meet its financial obligations, the unions said.

The EFJ and IFJ support the following demands by the Greek journalists unions:
The immediate return of money spent to buy the bond, along with interest and returns on capital being invested;
The guarantee of the insurance funds independent existence and management by electing the administration and by insuring effective public scrutiny;
To secure Fund reserves by offering stable guaranteed returns;
To bring legal charges against all those who are responsible;
To guarantee fundamental workers rights and decent standards including full insurance and pension rights.

Messages of solidarity to the striking journalist and the unions can be sent to the following address:

Further information: + 32 2 235 22 00
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in more than 30 countries

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