Imprint and Syndicom: charges against Ringier

After Tamedia, Ringier has now also been hit: Because the working hours of the editorial staff are not recorded, Imprint and Syndicom have filed a complaint with the city of Zurich's labor inspectorate.

The complaint is intended to draw attention to the overwork of media workers, according to a joint statement issued by the two journalists' associations on Thursday. Ringier must review the situation together with the labor inspectorate that has been called in. Overtime is defined as hours worked in excess of the legal maximum of 45 hours per week. It is imperative that these hours be compensated. However, impressum and syndicom write that working hours need to be recorded in order to measure them. Technological development is constantly bringing new tasks and a faster pace of work. The media companies would also strive for more profitability and keep the number of employees as low as possible, they criticize.

Ringier regrets "counterproductive action".

The media company Ringier reacted with surprise to the timing of the ad. "We have always demonstrated a willingness to engage in dialog with impressum," Ringier spokesman Edi Estermann told the SDA news agency. He also said that an appointment with the responsible labor inspectorate had been arranged for some time. Ringier and the personnel commission are already looking for suitable solutions for the recording of working hours. According to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco), employers also have until April 1 to take suitable measures in dialogue with employees, Estermann said. The journalists' associations criticize Ringier above all for the lack of a collective labor agreement (CLA) for German-speaking Switzerland and Ticino. The lack of a contract is the main reason for the problem. This will soon be the tenth time this has happened. The current cases show how urgent it is to negotiate a new CLA.

Despite years of effort and a number of constructive proposals from journalists, neither Ringier nor the publishers' association have so far been willing to seek a social partnership solution, the statement continues. For health protection, therefore, the only remaining option is the labor law, which requires the recording of working hours. The Ringier spokesman described the attempt by the journalists' associations to reactivate the stalled negotiations regarding the CLA in this way as counterproductive. "We regret that Ringier's constructive attitude is now being unilaterally terminated," he said.

Association of Swiss Media seeks advice from experts

The problem of overlong, illegal and unrecorded working hours exists not only at Ringier, but in the entire media industry, the journalists' associations write. A month ago, the associations filed the same complaint with the Labor Inspectorate against Tamedia. Working hours are also not recorded on the editorial staff of the Tages-Anzeiger. "The issue of recording working hours is on our minds," Hanspeter Lebrument, president of the Swiss Media Association, told SDA on Thursday. "At our next meeting in March, we will talk about it with experts from the field of human resources. We have to see if there is a need for action."

"The question is whether there is a solution to this problem for the entire industry," said Lebrument. But such a solution cannot be forced, he said. "We can only say what would be appropriate." He added that it was also important to know what journalists themselves would say about it. (SDA)

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