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Yle to lay off 63 after talks with union

Some 63 employees are to lose their jobs at Yle's Production and Design unit following a co-determination process involving talks with the journalists union. The company says the changes are necessary to meet the demands of a parliamentary working group to commission more programmes externally.

Yle is planning big changes in its production unit. Image: Marja Väänänen / Yle

Yle is set to make big changes in its Production and Design unit with the loss of 63 jobs. In addition 35 people will take retirement and 17 will be transferred to other Yle departments.

The Production and Design unit includes camera work, video editing, wardrobe, makeup, sound technicians and graphics for a large part of Yle's output. The unit as a whole currently employs some 439 people.

Jyrki Saarikoski, the head shop steward for the journalists' union at Yle, says the redundancies are a tough blow, especially with several big events coming up including the world ski championships in Lahti.

"The company is laying off workers whose expertise is sorely needed for, among other things, the spring's events and municipal election programming," said Saarikoski.

Yle's head of production Janne Yle-Äyhö also said the changes in store will be dramatic.

Changing media consumption

"Finns' media usage requires big changes in Yle's production work," said Yli-Äyhö. "It's especially important that Yle retains strong and capable production in the future, and these changes will guarantee that."

Yle said in a statement that the Production and Design unit will continue to operate both at Pasila in Helsinki and Mediapolis, which is located in Tampere.

Behind the changes are the recommendations of a parliamentary working group that reported back in summer 2016, recommending that up to 35 percent of Yle's programming budget be spent on outside commissions by 2022.

At the same time, Yle says it aims to renew its production unit to provide more flexible production services. The company is planning to merge Yle Fem, the Swedish-language television channel, and Yle Teema, which Yle describes as a "is a themed Cultural Channel, devoted to documentaries, movies and music".

Yle is also about to start another round of lay-off talks, affecting 20 production staff in regional news and current affairs offices.