L’Assostampa Fvg esprime la propria solidarietà ai colleghi in sciopero dell’unico quotidiano croato istriano, il ”Glas Istre”, che denuncia un buco finanziario di 14 milioni di euro causato da avventure imprenditoriali extraeditoriali da parte della direzione. Il nuovo proprietario Albert Faggian, che sei mesi fa ha rilevato l’azienda per il simbolico importo di due kune (mezzo euro), è al centro di violente accuse da parte del sindacato interno per avere rescisso in maniera unilaterale i contratti collettivi di lavoro annunciando il licenziamento di 40 dipendenti su 120. Secondo il sindacato, il datore di lavoro non avrebbe mai dimostrato disponibilità al dialogo per la definizione di un nuovo contratto. «Ma non solo – aggiungono i giornalisti -, siamo anche vittime di una forte censura per i testi che riguardano le critiche alla Dieta democratica istriana, il partito imperante nella penisola che avrebbe interessi comuni con la direzione del Glas Istre».
Ma ecco il comunicato diffuso dal sindacato dei giornalisti:
"The workers of the Croatian daily newspaper The Voice of Istria (Glas Istre) will go on strike starting this Sunday (November the 7th)! The mediation between the Croatian Journalist Union – Subsidiary of Glas Istre and the employer Glas Istre Novine Ltd failed last week. The employer in the person of the member of the board of directors Albert Faggian, declared that he had no intention to negotiate regarding the compilation of the collective agreement. The negotiations lasted six months but Faggian was adamant in his requests (as a matter of fact he never started negotiating). The trouble with The Voice of Istria started in February when the former chairman of the board and owner of the newspaper Željko Žmak announced that the company (then called only Glas Istre Ltd.) is more than a hundred million of Kunas in debt (a hundred million Kunas is 13,5 million Euros). The debt was made by perilous speculations with real estate – something that has nothing to do with running a newspaper. The problem got worse when he admitted that he took loans to secure the money for the worker’s pay checks not only from banks but even from regional public companies. Those loans were possible because of the close friendship between Žmak and the county prefect Ivan Jakovèiæ – leader of the party IDS (Istrian Democratic Forum) that is more than 20 years in power in the county of Istria. As a result of this friendship (and the loans) the journalists were censored whenever they tried to write objectively about IDS and the leader of the party Jakovèiæ. But that was only the beginning because Žmak sold the company – Glas Istre Ltd – to Albert Faggian (a local tycoon who was often in court
because of malversation with other companies – but never convicted – and owner of the commercial group Puljanka) for only TWO Kunas (0,27 Euros). Faggian divided the company in two parts Glas Istre novine Ltd. (the newspaper) and Glas Istre trgovina Ltd (distribution and news-stands). He then moved all the workers from Glas Istre Ltd. in these two companies, nullified the existing and lawful collective agreement and reduced the salaries up to 40%. That was judged illegal by the municipal court of the city of Pula this summer, and now the workers wait for the non-appealable decision of the county court. Since that was not enough for him, he recently announced the intention to fire one third of the workers of Glas Istre novine Ltd. According to the written statement of the employer Albert Faggian Glas Istre Novine Ltd. have 146 employees. The Subsidiary of Glas Istre of the Croatian Journalist Union has 117 members. Before the strike an arbitrarion commission (requested by the owner) had to decide which labours must not be stopped during the strike. The decision was brought only by the president of the commission – the judge of the County court in Pula Ondina Vidulin-Matijeviæ – who against the existent law issued a shameful sentence. Twenty workers must work during the strike because otherwise, as it is written in the
sentence, not only the owner but also the workers would suffer a great financial damage. Also, Vidulin-Matijeviæ wrote that the strike would unable the future issuing of the newspaper – using the same words of the employer Faggian. With this sentence she practicly equalized journalists with doctors and firefighters. The union and the workers (unlike its owner) will obey the sentence so the newspaper will be on the news-stand on Monday, even if that means that the strike will have no (or little) practical effect. The union and the workers still don’t know how much is the real debt of the company and not even how much money the newspaper brings to the owner every month because Faggian never showed financial reports of the company’s dealings. Faggian explains his “business” moves (in sheer irreverence to the law) stating that the number of sold newspapers per day is getting lower and lower because of the economic crisis. The union accepts that explanation but is also sure that readers don’t want to buy a newspaper whose journalists are constantly censored. The workers of Glas Istre decided that they can’t work in these conditions any more so the strike that begins this Sunday is not only a strike for basic worker’s right but also for the dignity of the profession (Maša Jerin, Chief commissioner Croatian Journalist Union – Subsidiary of Glas Istre)".