• France's news in English

French public radio in crisis as row deepens

AFP · 9 Apr 2015, 08:23

Published: 09 Apr 2015 08:23 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
"I still have four years of my mandate and during those four years I will not let up," said chief executive Mathieu Gallet, an ambitious 38-year-old with the looks and smooth delivery of a TV host, who was appointed to the top post at Radio France a year ago.
His uncompromising performance to lawmakers on a parliamentary cultural commission Wednesday set the scene for further digging-in by both sides in what is already Radio France's worst-ever labour dispute.
The strike started March 19 and has gone on for an unprecedented three weeks with no end in sight.
Listeners used to tuning in to one of Radio France's six stations can now only hear music interspersed with occasional and very brief news breaks by non-striking journalists.
A visibly exasperated Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin told parliament: "This conflict has gone on for too long."
She promised "very rapidly" she would make known decisions to restore dialogue between Radio France's management and unions, but  did not elaborate.
"The situation remains frozen," Pellerin said. "I will shoulder my responsibilities."
Poisonous relations
The relationship between Gallet and the unions, which mostly cover the radio group's technicians, has become poisonous.
Gallet did himself no favours by embarking on what the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine said was a 100,000-euro ($110,000) renovation of his office and by hiring of a PR consultant on a 90,000-euro salary as he prepared his job-cutting plan.
Now some union representatives will have nothing more to do with him.
"We have arrived at the point of no return," the head of the CGT union, Philippe Martinez, told French television network Canal+, where Gallet worked from 2001 to 2006.
Gallet left Canal+ to become an adviser to the right-wing government of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
In 2010, he was named as head of France's National Audiovisual Institute which manages the country's TV and radio archives. Four years later, the
left-wing Socialist government appointed him boss of Radio France.
€21-million budget shortfall 
On Wednesday, Gallet was to present the details of his plan to the broadcaster's employees.
Story continues below…
It calls for 300 jobs to be sliced from the group's 4,600-strong workforce, for webradio to take over from some of the more esoteric broadcasts, the halt of long- and shortwave transmissions, and the reduction in size of the group's two classical orchestras.
The aim is to fill a 21-million-euro shortfall in Radio France's budget. The group receives 664 million euros per year, 90 percent of it from a tax imposed on French households with a television.
"I am going to continue with this project," Gallet declared to the lawmakers Wednesday. He added that he believed that "the large majority" of
Radio France employees backed his plan.
In a possible sign the Socialist government could step in to calm the conflict, one lawmaker said Radio France might receive an extra 80 million
euros in public money, but there was no immediate confirmation from the culture ministry.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available