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Labor pain in Spain

Pubcaster RTVE to slash 4,150 jobs

BARCELONA — Spanish pubcaster Radio Television Espanola will cut 4,150 jobs, slashing its workforce to 6,500.

The layoffs were announced late Wednesday by RTVE director general Carmen Caffarel, SEPI prexy Enrique Martinez and trade union reps.

They came after 34 hours of tense negotiations between RTVE, its unions and SEPI, a state-backed turnaround company.

Accord opens the door for RTVE to receive a €575 million ($733.1 million) bail-out from Spain’s state budget.

The funds were earmarked by Finance Minister Pedro Solbes to cover RTVE’s rampant deficit just for 2006.

The socialist government demanded a radical restructuring of RTVE’s personnel overhead before assuming all of the pubcaster’s debt, currently $9.63 billion.

The job cuts also clear the way for RTVE to take on a RAI-style mixed financing model of subsidies and curbed TV ad revenues approved in June by a State Radio and Television Law.

RTVE will offer succulent voluntary retirement packages to workers over 51. The web’s future may not be as sweet.

However necessary, the job cuts will weaken RTVE’s production capacity, signal the loss of many of its most illustrious execs and probably do nothing to halt its sliding ratings. Mainstream channel TVE-1 tumbled to an all-time low market share of 19.6% last year.

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