German technical services provider Media Broadcast GmbH is in a difficult economic situation, according to trade union verdi. In order to avoid redundancies, the employer plans to introduce a 4-day week.
Due to the “forecast long-term negative business development and the resulting reduced workload”, Media Broadcast is planning a workforce reduction of at least 25%, the union reports after consultation discussions with management representatives. According to the employers, “there is no realistic hope that the permanently declining sales and revenue prospects will be compensated by new business of corresponding magnitude even in the medium term.” In their view, the “serious economic situation of the company” does not permit a socially acceptable reduction with classical instruments such as compensation packages or part-time retirement.
“By permanently introducing a 4-day week with a 20% reduction in weekly working hours without wage compensation for the entire company, the employers see an opportunity to put the company on a stable foundation for the future and to avoid a massive reduction in the workforce, including operational redundancies,” explained verdi. Regarding the reasons for the current situation, the union writes: “In our opinion, the current situation of Media Broadcast is based on one hand on technical developments in the market segment and the lack of compensation possibilities and on the other hand on wrong decisions in the strategic orientation by the company’s management and shareholders.”
Media Broadcast confirmed its intention to react to the situation with a 4-day week: “The digital transformation of the company, the separation from old analogue technology and the focus on digital technologies is associated with changed market requirements and demands on the way we work. Media Broadcast takes on this challenge at an early stage,” a company spokesman told Broadband TV News. “This is why Media Broadcast has been negotiating a new, modern working time model with its social partner ver.di since October 4, 2018. The introduction of the 4-day week offers the opportunity to make the company fit for digitisation while, at the same time, implementing necessary cost reductions in a socially acceptable manner.”
The spokesman explained the reasons: “The necessity for cost reductions results from the foreseeable decline in workload due to the transition to less maintenance-intensive new technology such as DAB+ and DVB-T2 and from the foreseeable end of the network expansion for DVB-T2 in 2019 as well as from the sale of large parts of the FM business.”
In February 2017, Media Broadcast announced the sale of its FM business, which was one of the service provider’s footholds and revenue generators. The sale was completed in December 2017. The company, which was acquired by media group Freenet in March 2016, also operates DVB-T2 and DAB+ transmitter networks as well as commercial broadcaster platform Freenet TV distributed via DVB-T2 and the Astra satellite system (19.2° East).
The situation does not affect Media Broadcast Satellite GmbH. The former satellite business unit of Media Broadcast GmbH was not acquired by Freenet and remains an independently owned, separate company.