EFJ Supports Strike as Spanish Broadcast Staff Fight “Savage” Job Cuts

The European group of the International Federation of Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, today supported strikers at Spanish public broadcaster RTVE, who are protesting against dramatic restructuring plans that threaten more than 3000 jobs.

“This is a savage strategy of cutbacks that threatens not only livelihoods but the quality of public broadcasting in Spain,” said EFJ Chair Arne König. “Coming on top of the shocking redundancies affecting hundreds at the BBC last year, the RTVE plans show that public broadcasting is experiencing a deep crisis in Europe. No-one is against well-managed reform, but there is no excuse for draconian planning that threatens up to 40% of the workforce. That is no way to defend independence, professionalism and quality in the public service”.

On 10 March RTVE management presented a restructuring plan that involves lay-offs for 3,133 employees and eliminates a further 1,300 temporary contracts. The cuts will hit 39% of the workforce. The management plan aims to contract out most production work in a move that unions say will bring in private interests, more commercialism and will weaken the quality of public service programming.

The EFJ says that after decades of political interference in broadcasting, the country should enjoy a fully independent public service system “The public yearns for a genuinely independent and quality-oriented broadcasting service”, said König. “But quality is not achieved by drastic cuts in the workforce and by putting programme creation in private sector hands. This is a terrible setback for democratic values in media.”

The Spanish Parliament is to debate a report drafted by a special group of experts on the proposals. Meanwhile, Spanish journalists and media staff affiliated to the EFJ are organising protests and campaigning for public support to fight the cuts.

The EFJ is calling on the authorities and the management to respect the concerns of trades unionists and newsroom staff and to respond to today’s protest strike with a commitment to negotiate. “The only way to achieve an agreed and sensible framework for restructuring is through negotiation, not by imposing unacceptable and impossible conditions” said König.

For further information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235 2202
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in more than 30 countries