MediaSind, the trade union organisation of Romanian media workers, has asked the Realitatea Media privately-owned media company not to force its furloughed employees to work as volunteers, according to a press statement released by the organisation on Friday.
"Following notifications received from some employees of SC Realitatea Media SA, the Romanian Trade Union of Journalists MediaSind took note, with indignation, of the illegal practices of the management of this media organisation, which forces employees to work voluntarily, although they have been furloughed, "the statement says.
According to the documents received by MediaSind, the employees were put on short-time work on April 7, 2020, as their employment contracts were suspended, and they qualify for short-time relief of 75% of their basic pay, according to the provisions of Article 53(1) in the Labour Code.
"Taking unfair advantage of the current health context and using a cheap scheme of deception, to the detriment of the employees and of the Romanian state, the management of this organisation considered that now is the time for them to increase their revenue. Although furloughed and on a plummeting, Realitatea Plus employees are forced to perform the same editorial duties on a suspended employment contract. That is practically a state of serious illegality because, although the employees are furloughed and thus expected to be at home - while the employer receives from the government important subsidies for their support - they are forced to work, doing the same work but on diminished pay."
MediaSind urges the management of Realitatea Media to cease these illegal practices and to pay the employees the wages in the amount stipulated in their individual employment contracts, according to the work performed. It says that it will refer theses slippages to the relevant authorities.
"Using this opportunity, SRJ MediaSind calls on all media employees to notify us immediately on our email address email@example.com if other employers violate the legal provisions, so that we may step in promptly," reads the press release.