Radio France staff strike over plans to axe nearly 300 jobs

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Employees at Radio France turned off their microphones Tuesday over plans to shed nearly 300 jobs as part of a cost-cutting effort, with many of the daily programs replaced by music.

Following a call by six unions, including the powerful CGT, employees halted productions at the public service broadcaster’s stations, which range from talk radio to pop music and classical.

“Following calls for a strike... we are unable to broadcast all of our normal programs,” said a pre-recorded announcement on Radio France.

A general meeting will take place at the headquarters of the public service broadcaster later on Tuesday.

The proposed cuts are part of a plan to save 60 million euros ($67 million) by 2022 which was announced in June by group chairwoman Sibyle Veil following a recommendation by France’s state auditors.

The move seeks to anticipate an expected 20 million euro cut in state funding over the next four years as well as an increase in staffing costs and further investments in digital media.

It also involves the reorganization of working hours to avoid a reliance on short-term contracts.

Some 270 jobs will go if employees agree to forgo up to 12 days of annual holiday, but the layoffs could rise to 390 if there is no agreement.

Unions have demanded the plan be dropped, describing it as “dangerous and destructive” as well as calling for the necessary staffing levels and resources “to carry out our public service mission.”

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