STA, 18 February 2020 - The Trade Union of Journalists and the Journalists' Association (DNS) issued a protest on Tuesday against the ongoing layoffs at Delo, the largest newspaper publisher in the country. The two organisations say the management is abusing social dialogue and demolishing the newspaper and Slovenian journalism.
The first pink slips were issued at Delo on Tuesday as part of a programme that last envisaged 11 layoffs along with 94 contract terminations tied to a new contract offer, the press release says.
The trade union and DNS claim the management is laying people off in a way that is at odds with the law and social dialogue requirements.
They said that 16 workers had already left by mutual agreement in fear of layoffs before 15 January, meaning that not 11 but 27 workers will end up leaving.
Thus, the leading media company in the country in the field of printed media will have shed a quarter of its workforce within three years, the two organisations said, noting that Delo has practically given up on its entire network of correspondents.
Delo, which first announced the latest layoffs last October when it highlighted a drop in sales of newspapers and magazines, and advertising revenue, confirmed it had laid off seven journalists and photographers today.
It however rejected the accusations, saying the Trade Union of Journalists as well as the Pergam trade union confederation had been included in the talks.
The management tried to consider social criteria to the greatest extent possible and adopted a number of measures to mitigate the consequences of the layoffs, Delo said, while arguing reorganisation was inevitable.
As for the reproach that the paper and access to quality information were being undermined, Delo said its workforce was still larger than envisaged by international standards and that concerns that content would suffer were unjustified.
Securing a sustainable business model in the changing situation in the media market, especially for printed media, requires adjustments and this must not be seen as something that undercuts the social role media play in democracy.
Delo already said in October that new media technologies and reading habits, which changed drastically in the last decade, affect media operations. It adding that printed media sales were dropping globally, while people's readiness to pay for on-line media contents remained low.
At the time, Delo employed 322 people, of whom 150 were journalists.
The circulation of papers issued by Delo - its namesake broadsheet, weeklies Nedelo and Nedeljske Novice, tabloid Slovenske Novice, and magazines Ona+ and Suzy - dropped by almost 2,000 a paper on average in 2018.
The most popular is Slovenske Novice, which was issued in 48,516 copies a day on average in 2018, which compares to 53,404 in 2017.
The circulation of the broadsheet Delo dropped from 27,116 to 25,512 in 2018, Delo's audited business report suggested.
The publisher Delo recorded EUR 34.9 million in net sales revenue in 2018, a 5% drop from 2017. Net profit shrunk by 46% to EUR 598,000. Operating profit stood at EUR 857,700, which is 30% less than the year before.