Strike keeps Le Monde off newsstands
French newspaper distributors strike Wednesday to protest job cuts and closures.
30 October 2008
PARIS - A strike by French newspaper distributors blocked deliveries of national daily Le Monde on Wednesday, the paper said on its website, in the latest setback to a struggling institution.
The strike was organised by unions representing workers at the NMPP distribution group protesting against plans to reduce its 3,000-member workforce by a tenth and close down several printing sites.
On Saturday, NMPP workers occupied a printing site in Paris, preventing the distribution of the Journal du Dimanche newspaper. The paper's publisher threatened legal action against the protest.
NMPP has a near-monopoly on newspaper distribution in the Paris region, controlling a slowing industry that has difficulty attracting investment.
Talks between unions and management were strained, and riot police were deployed during the weekend when strikers broke into the printing plant.
French papers are among the least profitable in Europe, and advertising profits dropped 40 percent since 2000. Combined income for national dailies decreased from EUR 1.145 billion in 2000 to EUR 848 million in 2007.
Government subsidy keeps the sector out of debt, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy organised a debate between state, industry and trade union representatives to find ways to strengthen threatened newspapers.
[AFP / Expatica]