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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Finally! Grah Whatmough will bring order to RTV – no more deleting negative hours from journalists!

By: Sara Kovač (Nova24tv.si)

In recent days, the public has been stirred up by the Bergant affair. One of the main political activists of the transitional left at RTV was acting as an “independent journalist” through his private company at a government event, only to be revealed that he did not have permission from RTV to do so. It also turned out that on that day, which was a working day, journalist Igor E. Bergant had logged his arrival at work in the evening hours and was present for only 5 minutes, from 19:16 to 19:21. Igor E. Bergant has a total of 139 hours (equivalent to 17 working days) of unaccounted time that he has not fulfilled at the public RTV, yet he seems to have the time for private additional hours. The missing hours at RTV are simply erased without any sanctions.

After the start of the affair, the new Council of Radiotelevision Slovenia (RTVS) decided at an extraordinary session to initiate the dismissal procedure of the acting director of the institution, Andrej Grah Whatmough, which raises doubts that the affair itself caused his removal. It is believed that there is fear that Uroš Urbanija will dismiss the host of the show Odmevi, Igor Bergant from his employment due to his breach of work obligations (similar to how Zemira Alajbegović Pečovnik received a dismissal for the same reason), and also because it seems that he is involved in managing affairs at RTV.

At RTV, they used to balance the hours twice a year. For public servants with irregular working hours, the counter was set to “zero” if the hour balance was negative. If the hour balance was positive during the balancing process, the counter was also set to “zero”, but the excess hours were considered actual overtime, which could be used in a ratio of 1:1.3 or paid out as overtime, as communicated by the RTV management to Bojan Požar.

He believes that the strikes by the far-left wing at RTV were not just about ideology or politics, let alone editorial autonomy or reporting standards, but rather about defending such misuses of taxpayer money. Now, the management has started addressing these anomalies.

No more deleting negative hours

“We would like to inform you that a decision was made at the extended collegium of the acting director on July 3rd, 2023, regarding the recording of negative hours for employees at RTV Slovenija. The practice of deleting negative hours for employees with irregular working hours has been discontinued, and they will now be recorded in the same way as positive hours. At the end of each month, superiors and managers will receive a notification if an employee’s working hours exceed 20 negative or positive hours. The immediate supervisor is responsible for preparing an appropriate plan to address any excess negative or positive hours.”

Acting Director General of RTV, Andrej Grah Whatmough, has implemented the first measure in response to the Bergant affair, which is putting an end to the deletion of negative hours. As a result, panic ensues within the government, as reported by Požar, stating that council members of the outgoing Acting Director General have been “hunting him down with detectives” since Friday in a frantic search to serve him with the decision to initiate his recall.

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