French paper Libération to fire third of its workers

The stalwart leftist daily in France, Libération, announced on Monday it will let go a third of its staff in an effort to keep the newspaper founded by Jean-Paul Satre from folding for good.

French paper Libération to fire third of its workers
Legendary leftist French daily Libération plans to shed a third of its workers. Photo: Pierre Andrieu/AFP

Left-leaning French newspaper Liberation said Monday it was slashing about a third of its workforce to "save" the daily founded by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

The 93 jobs concern those on permanent and part-time contracts in a total force of 250, the biggest cut ever in a paper which was launched in 1973.

Liberation editor Laurent Joffrin said this was "an unavoidable decision to save the paper." The management hopes this will help Liberation to turn in a profit next year.

Unions claim the reduced workforce would translate into savings of five million euros ($6.4 million) that would have normally been spent on salaries.

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The newspaper will also move its office, currently in the heart of Paris, to a cheaper area.

Liberation's editorial team will also be reorganised in its print and web versions and all employees — both journalists and others — will be offered a new contract that will include a ban on criticising the paper's management in public.

"Liberation is losing 22,000 euros ($28,000) a day," said Johan Hufnagel, the number two in the editorial team. "We have to streamline journalistic production."

Several journalists left the meeting in tears but refused comment. A veteran said it was "not the Liberation I knew."

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