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Interrogating the inverse

  • Vobič, Igor
  • Bembič, Branko
Publication Date
Sep 27, 2022
University of Ljubljana
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The public broadcaster RTV Slovenia strategically relied on non-standard employment for its permanent workers until the courts ruled that this was unlawful about a decade ago. The ensuing process of standardising employment has led to the regular employment of about 500 "permanently outsourced workers" under various arrangements. To interrogate the inverse, the study tests the Streeckian "beneficial constraints hypothesis", whereby a reduction of external numerical flexibility should push RTVS on to the path of socially more sustainable flexibility in its internal functions that prove to be economically beneficial. The process expanded the standard employment and the grounding for the collective organisation of newsworkers, while the prevailing imperative of "rationalising" the tendencies for the norm of work intensification with greater workloads, saturated working time, and basic reskilling in the newsroom. Unlike the process of "proletarisation" that has economically subordinated journalists through the process of professionalisation and its ideologisation that sought to align their interests with those of media owners, the study reveals patterns of the "creative destruction of journalism" in response to the worsening material conditions of professional journalism, adapting newswork to the evolving commercial modes of digitised communication, introducing the ideology of non-professionalism to reskilling, while exposing newsworkers to pauperisation.

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