Unions protest mass layoffs at public media

Public media union representatives have sent a letter to Hungary’s Media Authority in protest of the planned layoffs by the public media holding company, the Media Services and Asset Management Fund (MTVA). The letter was signed by seven leaders of various unions representing public service media workers and sent to Annamária Szalai, the Chairperson of Hungary’s Media Council, which oversees the MTVA.

In 2011, the MTVA laid off an estimated 900 workers, and according to reports, the company is planning another round of downsizing that will involve hundreds of public media staff and journalists.

According to the letter by union representatives, there is no economic reason for the downsizing, as public media funds have not changed in the past year. The letter also said that the cuts would further endanger the operation of public media, and previous downsizing and organizational restructuring have created serious tensions among public media employees.

In response to the planned layoffs, trade unions have begun to organizing a strike committee, although they say they would prefer to negotiate rather than to strike.