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ARGENTINA | 19-10-2018 09:20

Télam news agency must reinstate sacked workers: judge

Three hundred and fifty four workers were fired in June, with Télam authorities arguing they did not "meet the profile" of the company.

A labour tribunal on Thursday ruled that the state-run news agency Télam must reincorporate several hundred workers who were sacked during a controversial mass lay-off in June.

Labour tribunal judge Ricardo Tatarsky signed a series of eight injunctions which would force Télam authorities to reincorporate some 138 workers, pending a likely appeals process.

In his ruling, Tatarsky stated that the sackings were illegal on the grounds they were massive and did not follow normal crisis prevention procedures.

The total number of reincorporated workers now totals 260, following similar labour court decisions earlier this year.

'CREDIBILITY AT STAKE'

Since the sacking of 354 workers in June, Télam's normal operations have been paralysed, with authorities standing by their argument that the workers did not "meet the profile" of the company.

At a congressional hearing on the matter in July, the head of Argentina’s public media network, Hernán Lombardi, described operations at the agency as having become "a space for party-political activism". 

From 2003 to 2015, the agency “almost doubled” its personnel from 479 to 926 people and almost 50 were hired “on just one day in November 2015”, days before Mauricio Macri became president, Lombardi alleged.

Lombardi said the “level of absenteeism, the amount of unjustified days off, the very low productivity compared to  other international agencies”, was “unacceptable”.

“All of this mismanagement undermines the most important attribute of a news agency: its credibility”, he said Wednesday, claiming that the agency had lost subscribers.

The opposition criticised Lombardi for alleged “ideological persecution” against workers, particularly unionised workers.

-TIMES

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