Rising cost of living, poor working conditions: many Greek journalists are on strike. But not everyone participates.

A person in front of a newsstand.

Today there were fewer newspapers hanging than usual: newsstand in Athens Photo: Louiza Vradi/Reuters

ATHENS taz | Television stations showed old films or game shows like “My mother cooks better than yours”, news radio stations repeated texts, newspaper editorial offices remained empty: in Greece, journalists' unions called a national strike of 24 hours on Tuesday.

Whether public or private: all journalists, technicians and administrative staff of all media of all genres (print, audiovisual and online) must stop working from Tuesday at 5 a.m. local time until Wednesday at 5 a.m. before meeting the deadline set by the Greek government on Wednesday. The General Employees Union (GSEE) will provide media coverage of the 24-hour national strike.

As the Athens journalists' union, Esiea, explained, “for the umpteenth time, employers refuse to conclude collective agreements in the private sector.” This leads to “employees receiving starvation wages that are not even enough to cover their basic needs and those of their families.”

Like all Greeks, media workers were also affected by local inflation with explosive price increases. Therefore, according to Esiea, “media professionals would demand collective agreements in all media.” Journalists and media workers “must finally stop being hostages to anarchic working conditions and very low wages.”

Second lowest purchasing power

The background to this is that only about 25 percent of all employees in the entire Greek private sector have collective agreements. In 2023 they earned an average of 1,251 gross euros per month. Many journalists have less.

Especially in the expensive metropolises of Athens and Thessaloniki it is difficult to make ends meet. Greeks already have the second-lowest purchasing power of all residents in the EU-27. Only in Bulgaria is the purchasing power of citizens slightly lower.

But not all media and journalists followed the strike call. Government-affiliated websites such as “Proto Thema,” “iefimerida” and “Skai.gr” also revamped their online content on Tuesday as if there were no strike.

This is the other side of the coin of the perfidious interaction between the government and the media, which the conservative government of Conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in office since July 8, 2019, has taken to the extreme and which at At the same time, it is essential to understand destroyed media landscapes like the Greek one: first, government-affiliated media collect millions from the state treasury for advertising and information campaigns, while opposition or neutral media receive nothing. Anyone who works as a journalist will be rewarded handsomely by the government. Under Mitsotakis, “journalists” who are receptive to financial benefits receive generously paid positions in the government and state apparatus, as well as state-owned enterprises, in addition to their media jobs.

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