Le Monde to Strike over Layoffs
Le Monde, that venerable French news institution, is getting rocked by layoffs, prompting a 24-hour strike that will begin on April 14th (Monday). Such deep cuts to the newsroom will likely hamstring their ability to generate new content.
Le Monde's management announced last week that 130 jobs would have to go, two-thirds of which will be in the newsroom. The newsroom cuts represent one in four journalists or about 87 staff.
These cuts, which even Le Monde's new management accept are drastic, are part of plans to turn around the loss-making paper.
The 24-hour strike on Monday, April 14, over job cuts could mean that Le Monde's Tuesday edition does not reach newsstands. Le Monde is an evening newspaper, published every day except Sunday, from about lunchtime, and the edition that comes out on Monday will be dated Tuesday, April 15.
"We're going on a 24-hour strike as it is the only answer we have against the extraordinarily violent plan we are faced with," staff representative Christiane Chombeau told MediaGuardian.co.uk.
Chombeau said the proposed cuts also broke with Le Monde's tradition "of not having compulsory redundancies".
EVEN in France, a country that treasures intellectualism, the daily printed word has been dying a slow death. Between 2000 and 2006, overall sales of newspapers and magazines in France fell 10%, and advertising revenues by 20%; in 2007, circulation of all print media dipped again. Despite government subsidies, many papers are losing money. Le Monde, the oracle of the French elite, last week announced the loss of 130 jobs, prompting a call for a strike on April 14th. The paper is on its third editor in nine months, and the group lost €20m ($27m) last year, according to Eric Fottorino, the current one.