The prosecutor Gabriel de Vedia came out in favor of the dismissed 354 workers of the Argentine state news agency Telam and demanded their restitution while the tribunal decides if the massive layoff is or not legal.
The legal relief measure filed by the National Table for Equality Civil Association requested the immediate reinstating of hundreds of press professionals arguing the layoffs were “arbitrary and discriminatory.”
De Vedia said that the case includes the two requisites needed for any legal relief: it's probable that the workers were discriminated against and there's danger of delay in the ruling. If the workers are not reinstated in their positions, they will remain without income and benefits while the trial is ongoing.
The prosecutor said that the “journalistic pieces” presented as evidence show that the motives of Telam's president responded to “ideological reasons,” violating the “fundamental right of no discrimination.”
Also, Telam's workers are considered state workers, which means they enjoy “absolute stability” and can't be fired without a reason.
Even though the prosecutor's decision backs and strengthens the workers' demand, the final decision must be taken by Santiago Zarza, the judge in charge.
The workers were dismissed on June 26 with no apparent cause and without previous legal procedures. Since then, workers, social organizations, unions and opposition lawmakers have protested in demand of their restitution.
On Tuesday, workers and supporters were symbolically “hugging” Telam's offices building when they found out about the ruling.
#AHORA I Se celebró el abrazo simbólico a Télam con la presencias de diferentes diputadas y diputados de todo el arco político, y figuras gremiales. Gran apoyo . Esperamos que @herlombardi entienda que queremos dialogar. #357Adentro #TodosSomosTelam pic.twitter.com/XnMZEwymB5— #SomosTélam (@somostelam) 10 de julio de 2018
“#NOW I The symbolic hugh to Telam was done with the presence union leaders and different representatives from all the political sphere. Great support. We hope @herlombardi understands we want a dialogue. #357Inside #WeAreAllTelam”
The workers are protesting an adjustment plan by Hernan Lombardi, head of the Public Media System, who is attending the House of Representatives on Wednesday to present his declaration on the issue.
Lombardi didn't attend a call of the Work and Freedom of Expression Commission on July 3 and actually celebrated te dismissals. “Today journalism and citizens won. Today the future of the Telam Agency won,” said Lombardi had said through Facebook account.
Telam's directive board issued a statement arguing the dismissal decision was an answer to “the past government's irresponsibility and mismanagement” by the expansion of the staff.
In the communique, the company explains that the staff number rose from 479 to 926 between 2003 and 2015. According to the directive board, the rise was intended to support “political propaganda” by former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's in an “arbitrary and abusive” manner.
But the employees claim that the staff was expanded with Telam's services, as a new audiovisual section, a radio, and a web site were created. “Undoubtedly the staff increased within the 12 years of Kirchnerism, but that's because the agency transformed,” Mariano Suarez, a Telam delegate, told Andes.