«Eleftherotypia» ( “Freedom of The Press”) is a leading Greek daily newspaper. It was first published in 1975, after the fall of the -year military junta which ruled for seven years, as a “newspaper run by journalists”. Experiments in self-management did not last long, and a liberal businessman, Christos Tegopoulos, soon bought the newspaper title.
For more than three decades “Eleftherotypia” has been one of the most outspoken and independent voices of the Greek press. Free of corporate interests and state involvement, it revealed many political and economical scandals.
The company entered the stock market and had made big profits until the Greek stock market bubble burst in 2000. The owner, who paid huge wages to chief executives, had received substantial loans from banks and made investments which did not pay off .
After Christos Tegopoulos died in 2006, his daughters took charge, but failed to make the right moves that could have helped the newspaper adapt to the new media environment. At the same time, they kept borrowing money from banks, using it to pay returns to the stock-holders (which means themselves), thus draining much-needed capital from the company.. According to the official balance sheets the company submits to the stock-market each year, more than 90 million euros have “fled” since 2005; these euros were removed from the company's register and transferred into the stock-holders’ private accounts and to the board of directors’ luxurious wages and bonuses.
Poster from the strike on 1-2-3 december:
1-2-3 December 2011
* Four months' wages
* All our colleagues who work as free lancers (with work receipts), but actually cover permanent and organic posts, to be hired on the pay roll immediately and have insurance coverage.
* Full and transparent disclosure of the company's financial records. We demand to be let know of the managements' current and oncoming plans.
BECAUSE A NEWSPAPERS' SOUL IS ITS WORKERS
WORKERS of "ELEFTHEROTYPIA" (freedom of the press)
Suddenly, this summer, in July 2011, the company stopped paying wages altogether, claiming cash flow difficulties. Since then, its 850 employees (journalists, technicians, managerial staff), have kept writing, editing and printing issues and publishing commercial ads, without getting paid anything but small “tips” from time to time. This way they have involuntarily become unofficial “company creditors”, since the company now owes them more than 5 million euros in postponed wages. All these months the company keeps promising there will be a new loan, to improve “Eleftherotypia” by... simply laying off 50% of the personnel. Still the company strictly denies the workers' unions any access to financial information or any means of workers’ control.
As the International Federation of Journalists has stated, “there can be no press freedom if journalists exist in conditions of poverty, corruption and fear». This is exactly what is happening now in “Eleftherotypia” and other Greek media – with mass layoffs, extreme wage cuts, and even big media trusts and smaller companies that stop paying wages at all. This is part of a total assault against workers rights, freedom of the press, democracy and society in general, following the Troika (E.U. – IMF -Central European Bank) memorandum of economic and political oppression.
We cannot be fooled anymore.
The 850 workers of “Eleftherotypia” must be fully compensated. Now!
People’s dignity before Profits
Cartoon by Stathis published at Eleftherotypia