The announcement comes after a period of consultation with both unions and employees.
The SBC, which provides services in all of Switzerland’s main languages and in English, says that it “hoped most cuts would be covered by positions not being re-filled when staff leave,” but added that it “could not rule out some redundancies.”
The announcement that redundancies were intended came despite 71.6% of voters rejecting the “No Billag” initiative in March this year. The Billag is the service responsible for collecting the mandatory fee Swiss citizens pay their public broadcaster.
The “No Billag” campaign sought to abolish this fee but was overwhelmingly rejected. Had the initiative been successful, the impact on SBC would have been far more drastic.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the referendum result was celebrated by SBC at the time with director Gilles Marchard saying it was “a strong sign for the public service and for private regional radio and television.”
Despite this, within a matter of months, the corporation announced that it aimed to save CHF100 million over the next four years and that redundancies were expected.
Where the SBC aims to save:
- 20million CHF – SRF (German-speaking service)
- 15million CHF – RTS (French-speaking service)
- 10million CHF – RSI (Italian-speaking service)
- 1million CHF – RTR (Romansh-speaking service)
- 1million CHF – Swissinfo (English-speakig service)
- 15million CHF – Directorate General headquarters
- 40million CHF – infrastructure and distribution cuts
According to SBC, the savings “aim to offset both the Swiss government's decision to reduce and cap SBC's share of the licence fee (…) and a decline in advertising revenue.” Although the corporation aims to reduce the number of losses, it admits that dismissals are inevitable and will begin from 2019.