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TV Staffers Protest Unpaid Wages in Belgrade

June 2, 2012

Employees of Serbia’s TV Avala and Macedonia’s Pink 15 protested on Friday in front of the Pink headquarters in Belgrade, saying they still have not received their unpaid wages.

 

Protesters left a gift for Mitrovic – an empty box | Photo by Beta/Milan Obradovic

While employees of TV Avala stopped producing their own programmes 25 days ago because they had not been paid for four months, their colleagues from Macedonia are demanding eight months’ unpaid wages.

Employees left a birthday present to Zeljko Mitrovic, owner of Pink International, and the likely majority owner of TV Avala – an empty box urging him to pay his workers this year.

Ownership in TV Avala
The current ownership structure consists of businessman Danko Djunic, who owns 45.65 percent, Austrian company Greenberg Invest, which owns 48.41 per cent, media mogul Zeljko Mitrovic, who owns 4.95 per cent, and the Economic Institute, which has a 0.99 per cent stake.

Balkan Insight conducted an investigation into the ownership of Avala TV that can be found here.

According to a report issued last September by the Serbian Anti-Corruption Council, an Austrian company, Greenberg Invest, is believed to serve as a cover for Mitrovic’s ownership.

Staff at Avala went on strike on December 22. Afterwards the Avala premises were largely deserted and the broadcaster operated at a minimum level.

Normal production resumed on February 23, after a 65-day strike, after management finally paid three months’ arrears and pledged to repay remaining unpaid wages by April 1.

According to the protesters, the promises were not fulfilled.

Aleksandar Subarevic, from TV Avala, said representatives from the National Broadcasting Agency, RRA, attended a meeting with the staff on April 1.

“Avala is still being allowed to broadcast programmes… So we ask the RRA, why doesn’t it intervene?” Subarevic said.

Some wore pink football shirts with Mitrovic’s name on it | Photo by Beta/Milan Obradovic

Part-time associate of Pink 15 TV Snezana Antic said that employees will attempt to sue the director of Pink 15 TV in Macedonia, which is part of Pink International and owned by Mitrovic.

“We will continue our fight against irresponsible behaviour of the Pink TV director through the institutions of Macedonia,” she said.

She recalled that on May 10 staff entered the Pink 15 TV premises in Skopje and took apart the equipment. The broadcasting council of Macedonia on May 11 scrapped its working permit, owing to the business of the unpaid salaries.

The Serbian Union of Journalists is supporting the protesting employees of Avala and Pink 15 TV. Dragana Cabarkapa, president of the union, said the authorities should order the television station owners to pay all overdue earnings and taxes at once.

She added that the protest in Belgrade is further confirmation that the region shares the same problems in the media sector.

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From → FYROM, News, Press, Serbia

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