AFP to cut 95 jobs, CEO says, scaling back initial 125 target

By AFP   January 21, 2019 | 07:00 pm PT
AFP to cut 95 jobs, CEO says, scaling back initial 125 target
AFP CEO Fabrice Fries, seen here in December 2018, has presented a revised version of his
Agence France-Presse will cut 95 jobs over the next five years, 30 fewer than announced in October, without affecting targeted savings, CEO Fabrice Fries said Monday.

Presenting a revised version of his "transformation plan" to employee representatives, Fries said the company would still save 14 million euros ($15.9 million) on wage costs and five million euros on other expenses by 2023.

To achieve this, management will convert 15 of the current 175 expatriate postings into local jobs and realise savings through replacing senior employees with younger ones.

The AFP chapter of the journalists union SNJ rejected the new plan as "totally unacceptable".

"This plan is still void of any editorial element. Weakening the editorial team, pulling apart a network of expatriates who contribute to the strength and attractiveness of the world's third biggest news agency, threatens the goal of serving the public interest," the agency's leading editorial union said on Twitter.

Under the first iteration of the plan, 125 jobs were to have been cut through attrition, with incentives put in place for employees to retire. At the same time, 30 new hires were planned.

Two thirds of the 258 AFP employees who will turn 65 by 2023 are journalists.

The 95 jobs being cut would include 72 technical and administrative posts and 23 journalist positions.

Management said it decided to adopt a voluntary departure plan rather than a strategic workforce planning accord as it initially proposed.

"This option will in fact allow us to differentiate between voluntary retirement and voluntary departures for professional projects," Fries said.

Management hopes to open negotiations with the works committee in March with a view to implementing the new plan in the autumn, Fries said.

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