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Syndicate for Education Continues With Its Political Activism

In addition to becoming experts on the epidemic, members of the Slovenian Syndicate for Upbringing, Education and Science (Sindikat vzgoje, izobraževanja, znanosti in kulture Slovenije – hereinafter referred to as SVIZ) have now also become experts in the field of media. They have decided to help the Slovenian Press Agency (Slovenska tiskovna agencija – hereinafter referred to as the STA) with their funding, most likely at the expense of the employees in the education sector and the money they receive for them. In any case, it should be pointed out that the government is also concerned about the STA employees, and the Government Communication Office simply cannot understand why the director of the STA, Bojan Veselinovič, is holding his employees hostage, while his supporters allow him to remain the director – despite the non-transparent operating. 

At a correspondence session, members of the executive board of the SVIZ trade union unanimously decided that the trade union should join the campaign of the Slovene Association of Journalists, called “STAnd up for professional journalism,” in which funds are being raised for the STA employees. “SVIZ will allocate one thousand euros to help maintain the existence of the STA and to help about ninety employees who work there,” they announced. It should be pointed out that the STA could have normally continued to do business with its founder – the government, if only it submitted the required documentation to the latter.

With their announcement, SVIZ members wanted to show that they support the efforts of employees of the Slovenian Press Agency, their journalistic colleagues and the general public to preserve the autonomy of the STA as a public service, which reports in accordance with professional criteria and journalistic ethics. SVIZ members also emphasised that the right to comprehensive, accurate and impartial information on events in Slovenia and around the world is immensely important.

It is certainly important to support professional journalism; however, the STA has shown in the past that it has not been impartial in all respects. SVIZ members also said they are worried about the employees, but so are the government representatives. While Veselinovič is holding his employees hostage, SVIZ has decided to actually support the director in his (non)transparent operations, which is exactly what Veselinovič is betting on. “With our donation, the union is expressing full support and solidarity with the journalists and other STA employees, who must be provided with appropriate working conditions and payment for the professional and quality service they provide,” the union added.

Despite the large campaign, it seems that the public does not support Veselinovič’s actions
In order to help the agency overcome its financial problems, the Slovene Association of Journalists, together with the friends of the STA, launched the “STAnd up for professional journalism” campaign on Monday. However, it seems that the project did not receive the mass response that was expected. As some sources have revealed to us, they did not manage to raise a lot of funds, which clearly shows that the public does not support Veselinovič’s actions. It is also sad that the money intended for employees in the education sector will now be spent on a salary of a director who does not want to give in to the Government Communication Office’s director, Uroš Urbanija.

MP Anja Bah Žibert also commented on the matter on her Twitter profile, where she told the union that it could raise the same amount of money for Veselinovič’s salary every month because the latter does not want to resign. “Štrukelj’s activism is nothing but further proof of his “union” priorities. The protection of a privileged director who deprives his employees of what they deserve!” she wrote.

It is more than obvious that SVIZ is engaging in political activism. In a recent statement for the press, they emphasised that they would start collecting signatures for the resignation of the Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Simona Kustec. SVIZ members are once again fighting against her because of old resentments, which were caused by some of her statements. Additionally, they believe that they were ignored and neglected by the Minister in the decision-making process. Štrukelj pointed out that the education sector has fallen victim to the measures, but the fact is that the epidemic has affected all aspects of life. As the leader of the SMC parliamentary group, Gregor Perič pointed out, this is simply a continuation of the political fight in which the employees of the education sector have no interest in engaging in a positive dialogue. Their engagement in the STA matters thus simply represents a continuation of their political activism.

Sara Rančigaj

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