EL PAÍS announces layoffs in order to weather the crisis

Cost-cutting measures to include reductions in salaries and cutbacks in regional bureaus

Madrid -

PRISA CEO and EL PAÍS president Juan Luis Cebrián announced on Friday a series of measures to guarantee the newspaper’s lifespan in the coming years as it faces drops in advertising revenues and other adverse circumstances stemming from the current crisis. Among the measures are early retirement packages for employees, reductions in personnel, including at the newspaper’s bureaus throughout Spain, and salary cuts.

Accompanied by El PAÍS editor Javier Moreno and PRISA board members José Luis Sainz and Fernando Abril Martorell, Cebrián told representatives of the newspaper’s union that specific details of the measures will be announced on Tuesday.

Cebrián acknowledged that the measures were the most “painful” in EL PAIS’ 36-year history but “unavoidable.”

While recognizing the effort made by all employees to maintain the quality of EL PAIS in both print and on the web despite budget cuts, Cebrián said that the ongoing problems in the communications sector, which has been deeply affected by the crisis, threaten the newspaper’s future.

“It is not a question of improving profits,” he said. “The newspaper cannot bear its present cost structure for much longer.”

He explained that company officials want to redesign a new news product to fit today’s needs.

In a statement released by the union shortly after the meeting, representatives said they had asked Cebrián to hold off for one month in filing a formal employee reduction plan, known in Spanish as an ERE, with the Labor Ministry to give the company and employees time to negotiate alternatives. But company officials said that they will present their reduction plan as scheduled.

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