ATHENS – The return of the former national broadcaster ERT to the air, scheduled for May 25, may be postponed again, iring Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras who had made it a key part of his campaign platform.
The likely delay was said to be caused about objections to the new management for ERT, which would merge with the station which replaced it, NERIT.
Former Premier and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, to meet demands of international lenders, closed ERT with no notice in June, 2013 and fired all 2,653 workers. About 750 were hired back to staff NERIT but Tsipras ordered the rehiring of 1,500 who weren’t, even though the country is going broke.
According to media reports, many former ERT staff who have been rehired, and several SYRIZA MPs, object to the new management team while union leaders representing the new staff are bickering with the government.
ERT was closed after much criticism it had been a patronage dumping ground and was hugely overstaffed, including with no-show jobs and been used to reward political favors with high-paying jobs and big pensions for unskilled workers as well.
In a speech to SYRIZA’s central committee, Tsipras wouldn’t say if ERT would start on May 25 as planned but moaned that it “should already have been operating.”
“We are late. We have the political responsibility for (ERT’s) immediate re-operation, without any more foot-dragging,” Tsipras said.
“ERT is not reopening so certain people can get their jobs back but so that people can have a pluralist source of information,” Tsipras said.