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French-language cantons tackle Tamedia over cuts

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French-language cantons tackle Tamedia over cuts
Edipresse Tower in Lausanne, where Tamedia directs its "Publications romandes". Photo: Tamedia
10:51 CET+01:00
The Geneva and Vaud governments have sought a meeting with the management of Tamedia, the Zurich-based publishing company, over concerns about job cuts at major French-language newspapers in their cantons.

Tamedia has announced that it plans to cut 34 million francs in expenditures from its Swiss newspapers with more than half that amount aimed at papers in Geneva and Vaud.

The company became the dominant news media player in French-speaking Switzerland after it took control of the Lausanne-based Edipresse chain following a merger in 2009.

It owns such titles as Le Matin, the Tribune de Genève, 24 Heures and 20 Minutes and has a part ownership in Le Temps, which has also been hit by job cuts.

On Wednesday, around 50 journalists from Tamedia newspapers demonstrated outside the Lausanne train station to decry the cost-cutting measures.

They carried signs proclaiming that the press in Suisse Romande (French-speaking Switzerland) is “in danger”.

Employees from Le Matin carried a banner with the words “angry” in French written over the newspaper’s logo.

In Geneva, another 50 journalists from the Tribune de Genève also protested against the planned cuts on Wednesday.

Tamedia, which is facing declining circulation for its newspapers, has not detailed how it plans to execute its cost-saving measures and has not yet announced layoffs.

The association of editors and staff at the Tribune de Genève have nonetheless denounced the media group’s cost-cutting plans, saying they threaten jobs.

The group noted that Tamedia racked up 152 million francs in profits last year and staffing has already been trimmed.

Charles Beer, cabinet minister and head of the Geneva cantonal government, telephoned Pietro Supino, Tamedia chairman about a meeting, the ATS news agency reported.

A delegation of cabinet ministers from Geneva and Vaud hope to meet with Tamedia executives before Easter.

Pascal Broulis, finance minister for the canton of Vaud, said one of the questions to be asked of Tamedia is why it is seeking a 15 percent return on its business, ATS reported.

“That is something that shocks me,” said Broulis, who added that he would make it known to the company that that rate of return is “not credible”.

The company last week reported an operating income margin of 13.5 percent on total revenues of 1.05 billion francs for 2012.

Tamedia’s other newspaper titles include German-language publications such as Tages Anzeiger, Berner Zeitung, SonntagsZeitung and Der Bund.

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