Slovak pubcaster RTVS to lay off 20% of its workforce


    BRATISLAVA: Slovak public-service Radio and Television Slovakia (www.rtvs.sk) is preparing to lay-off 20 percent or more of its workforce, RTVS head Václav Mika wrote in a memo to employees.

    Although the official figures are yet to be announced, unofficial sources claim that 298 out of the current 1,450 positions will be cut by June 2013, according to the Hospodárske Noviny daily.

    The lay-offs are expected to affect the television division more than the radio service, and some 50 percent of the job cuts will concern production personnel.

    "We're re-introducing mass lay-offs at our institution, a move that represents the completion of the merger process between the Slovak Radio and Slovak Television,“ Mika wrote as cited by the TASR newswire. “Although this measure will concern only a minority of employees, I understand that it's a delicate issue for all of us and that's why we have initiated personal communication with all union organisations.“

    RTVS, whose average market share was 12% in 2011, started massive lay-offs last year in order to compensate debts totaling 50 m EUR.

    However, Mika, who is the former CEO of TV Markíza (www.markiza.sk), the leading Slovak broadcaster, emphasised that dismissals will not only serve the purpose of reducing the deficit, but also as a means of increasing the salaries and offering more benefits for those who will remain.

    In 2012, RTVS‘s revenues are expected to reach 116 m EUR, with license fees representing around 63 percent of the amount, and to exceed the expenses by 2.6 m EUR.

    Mika was selected as the new CEO by the parliament in the summer 2012, after the previous director Miloslava Zemková had been removed from her post over allegations of misconduct, a decision that was heavily criticised by the opposition.

    The incumbent government has also decided to retain TV license fees in spite of their predecessors‘ plans to abolish them as of 2013.