At today's press conference, the SDA staff made it clear that they still expect negotiations. In view of the refusal on the part of the Board of Directors, they welcome arbitration if the dismissals are suspended for the duration of the proceedings. Without the suspension, the arbitration would be a farce, the unions write. The workforce will meet for another general assembly in a week. Until then, the strike remains suspended. The planned reduction of 35 of the 150 full-time positions in the editorial department would make a basic three-language media service impossible and was unacceptable, the editorial commission and the Syndicom and Impressum unions affirmed.
"Bloated social plan"
The employees accuse the Board of Directors of artificially inflating the social plan. Matthias Hagemann, a member of the Board of Directors, had described the plan as generous in the amount of 2.5 million Swiss francs. However, he said, the fact was that this figure included the costs of suspending the layoffs during negotiations, as well as the costs of the layoffs and of psychological support for those affected. However, the employer would have to pay these amounts by law. They were therefore in no way part of the social plan. If the amounts owed by law are deducted, 1.9 million francs remain in the social plan - exactly as much as before the negotiations. With the approximately 20 million in retained earnings, there are sufficient funds to create a truly generous social plan and secure the future of SDA, write Syndicom and Imprint in a press release.
The workforce prefers negotiations, as it further clarified. Since the Board of Directors is not prepared to do so, however, it welcomes external mediation under the aegis of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco), writes the SDA. Analogous to the suspension of the dismissals and notices of change during the negotiations, the downsizing measures are also to be suspended during the process. The staff expects written confirmation of this from the Board of Directors by February 28. The review of the downsizing measures remains a key issue. If it is dropped, only the social plan will remain in the mediation process. Such a starting position is "unacceptable", the statement continues. Without the review, a discussion about SDA's strategy would become obsolete.