PODGORICA, 02.05.2019. – The World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to point out the biggest problems faced by employees in the Montenegrin media, and we are addressing the topics that media themselves are avoiding, trying to beautify the situation for which managers and owners of the media themselves are guilty of.
1. In Montenegro, there is only one media outlet that has a collective agreement. This clearly speaks about the readiness of managers and owners to change the conditions in which the people they hire work. The Trade Union of media of Montenegro has been trying to change the Branch Collective Agreement for years, but the employers from the media sector unanimously decided to stop these negotiations last year.
2. Non-payment of salaries is a problem that it is necessary to emphasize in every story about the Montenegrin media. This year we also had media that owed their employees up to 15 salaries. It is redundant to say that the regularity of earnings is a condition for employees to live and work, and therefore for the existence of media that function in such conditions. Unfortunately, in 2019, we are in a situation that we must explain this and appeal to the situation to change.
3. The right to strike is one of the guaranteed rights and the last “tool” that employees can use to fight for their rights. And that was the case in the previous years. In the media, we have a situation that for four years (since 2015) the Act on Minimum Workflow in the Conditions of the Strike isn’t adopted, due to the obstruction of the Union of Montenegrin employers, because they do not want to accept that it applies only to RTCG, and not to private media and local public broadcasters.
4. The freedom of trade union association is a constitutional category, but for one part of employers in Montenegro, this is not a sufficient argument to allow employees to use their rights. In one part of the media, trade union organization is completely disabled, while in the other, where there are trade union organizations, trade unionists and activists are under pressure.
5. The old technique is a limiting factor and media employees are forced to work and to try in various ways to make their work more professional. Without adequate equipment that facilitates work, we can not talk about freedom of media.
6. We believe that safety of journalists is partly the responsibility of both the state and its institutions. The most serious cases of attacks on journalists were left unresolved, and some were outdated. Security is a prerequisite for creating a normal ambience for the work of journalists.
7. It is also necessary to adopt laws, primarily the amended Law on Media, in order to, even in theory, create conditions for journalists to protect themselves and their work in editorial offices. However, we hope that the opportunity to limit the influence of media owners wont be missed because they, by abusing their position, affect the work of the editors and the journalists.
The Main Board of the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
SMCG, Podgorica, 02/05/2019