PUBLIC MEDIA CUTBACKS

312 jobs to go at Catalan public broadcasters TV-3 and Catalunya Ràdio

Latest meetings have reduced number of layoffs from 500

A layoff plan at Catalan public broadcasters TV-3 and Catalunya Ràdio will mean the loss of 312 employees, the committee that manages public TV and radio in the region has decided.

As EL PAÍS had previously reported, the original plan had been to lay off 500 workers, but the latest meetings have achieved a reduction in the number of jobs affected.

The Government Committee of the Catalan Corporation of Audiovisual Media (CCMA), which has a staff of 2,600 people, 2,100 of whom are employed at TV-3, has decided to go ahead with the layoffs this summer after giving up on negotiations with the workers’ committee. It also assumes that salary cuts will be made afterwards and is proposing a reduction of 7.5 percent. The reduction will be complemented by cuts in top management.

CCMA president Brauli Duart always promised that the layoff plan would be a “last option” to reduce costs. The committee needs to cut its budget by 17 percent this year, almost all of which will come from staffing costs. The Catalan government is one of the heavily indebted among Spanish regions, and is struggling to reduce its budget deficit.

It is the third consecutive reduction the CCMA has had to make. Available funds have diminished from 348.2 million euros to 295.6 million with the majority of that figure – 225 million – coming from the public coffers.

The CCMA highlighted that although it had reduced costs by 50 percent since 2010, that was not the case with spending on personnel, where it had planned to save 27 million euros in 2013.

Despite being the parliamentary partner of premier Artur Mas’s CiU nationalist bloc government, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) said it did not support the layoffs. “There is room to find imaginative solutions,” ERC secretary-general Marta Rovira said Wednesday.

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