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Urbanija On The Pressures And Interference Of Minister Vrečko In The Management Of RTV

The management of RTV Slovenia strongly protests against the unacceptable pressure and interference of the Minister of Culture, Asta Vrečko, in the operational management of the national media outlet Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS), wrote Uroš Urbanija, Acting Director of Television Slovenia, in a press release. “A minister who clearly does not understand basic democratic principles should never be a minister in a democratic government of a European Union country.”

“Perhaps the Minister herself tolerates her employees cheating the system when recording their working hours, circumventing the sick leave system, going on 10-day business trips for which they do not have her permission, or even had a clear ban on such business trips. All this may be tolerated by the Minister, but it cannot be tolerated by the management of RTV Slovenia. If this were acceptable, then it would be easy for anyone to accuse us of being negligent in our work. And they would be right.”

The Acting Director of Television Slovenia, Uroš Urbanija, MSc, explained some of the facts connected to the extraordinary termination of employment of an RTV Slovenia journalist, which was first reported by the N1 media outlet, which did not even ask Urbanija – or anyone else from the management team of the national media outlet, for that matter – for clarification before publishing the article. Thus, Urbanija has decided to present the following facts to the public:

1. In early April, the worker requested a 10-day business trip.

2. She did not get permission for such a long business trip from the Acting Director of Television Slovenia but was granted permission for a shorter business trip of three days.

3. In mid-April, the employee once again requests permission for a business trip, this time for seven days.

4. Following her previous request to the Acting Director, she was also refused the seven-day trip.

5. At the beginning of May, the worker visited the Acting Director and explained to him that she had booked and paid for an apartment for 10 days a year earlier.

6. The Acting Director asked the worker to provide him with all the documentation, including the conditions for cancelling the reservation.

7. It turned out that the employee had paid for the apartment on the 28th of April 2023, meaning, after she had been clearly informed that the 10-day trip was not authorised. However, she was still negotiating the final price of the flat on the 29th of April 2023.

8. As a result of the employee’s lies and misrepresentations, the Acting Director banned her from travelling abroad. In addition, it appeared that the worker would have travelled alone without a cameraman, which further called into question the reasonableness of such a business trip.

9. The worker went on the business trip in question, despite the explicit prohibition.

10. As she had been absent from work for five consecutive days, the Acting Director asked her supervisor to grant her leave if she requested it.

11. It turned out that she had not asked for leave, but she had sent a letter from her lawyer to the Acting Director saying that she could go on a business trip even if the Acting Director objected.

12. The following day, the employee returned from her trip, but asked her supervisor if leave and sick leave could be retrospectively recorded.

13. The Acting Director lodged a criminal complaint with the police for the apparent sick leave fraud.

14. Nevertheless, at the end of May, the employee requested that all hours during the period of her unauthorised absence be entered in the system, 10 hours for each day. In addition, she wanted the same number of hours to be entered for Saturday and Sunday. This would also have made the employer criminally liable, as the employer would also have been in clear breach of labour laws.

Uroš Urbanija explained that the RTV Programme Council had also been informed about the extraordinary termination of employment procedure, which is why the recent statement by the President of the Programme Council of RTV Slovenia is a complete fabrication. “The President of the Programme Council of RTV Slovenia, Goran Forbici, practically does not reply to our letters, and he himself did not object to the extraordinary termination of employment. And what is more, we asked the President of the Programme Council whether he believes that RTV employees may deliberately commit serious breaches of their work obligations and unjustifiably record their working hours and go on unjustified business trips abroad in a way that suits each individual. If he believes this is the way to go, then he should inform us about this so that we can inform all employees about what they can and cannot do,” Urbanija added.

Sara Kovač

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