ET1, the country's oldest television channel, is closing down and 473 employees will lose their jobs. The job losses will be implemented through direct dismissals, early retiremennt or re-deployment in other public sector organisations.
In August 2011, the Greek government announced that ET1, which began broadcasting as EIR in 1966 and state broadcaster ERT's digital channels Cine Plus and Sport Plus, would stop broadcasting within 2011 as part of the government's restructuring of ERT due to the financial crisis. EIR and state broadcaster ERT were recently merged.
The State Minister and Government spokesman said that the job cuts will contribute to savings of 8.3m euros at the national broadcaster, which, according to media sources, will produce a surplus and reduce staffing levels over recent months. He added that government agencies will move into offices no longer required by the broadcaster, which is headquartered in Agia Paraskevi, saving the government over a million euros in rent.
In an effort to redefine the nature of public broadcasting in Greece the Minister said that a special committee is to be formed by mid-September to prepare a report on the sector. This committee will consist of media experts, social partners, civil society representatives as well as experts from the BBC and German, French and Swedish public broadcasters. A month will be given to complete its deliberations. Another committee will be entrusted with the task of downsizing the company's 3,050 employees, 500 of whom work on temporary contracts.
According to the media sources the cabinet decided that 10 percent will enter the labour reserve following an assessment. Temporary staff at the state broadcaster will be reduced by 50 percent.
The organisation of the broadcaster and abolition of the ET1 channel will be carried out via an amendment tabled in Parliament, while its analog frequency will be used by the digital channel Prisma, which will broadcast educational television and successful series made by private channels.
Employees of Greece's national radio and television foundation (ERT) rallied outside the parliament in central Athens to protest against the government's plans to shut down one of the three public TV channels, ET1, and reduce the number of employees.
ERT currently employs 3,050 people, a sixth of whom are employed on temporary contracts. Two years ago, over 5,500 people worked at the company. It currently has 725 full-time journalists and a further 165 hired on contracts. Of the 725 permanent journalistic staff, 464 are based in Greece and 261 abroad. Broken down by station, ET1 and the satellite station ERT World employ 473 people, NET 740 and ET3 418. The technical department has a staff of 239 people and the financial and IT department employs 223.