IBA to slash NIS 40m. from budget

Implementation of efficiency plan begins; deficit to hit NIS 150m. by December.

IBA 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IBA 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Israel Broadcasting Authority will trim its budget by some NIS 40 million by the end of the year, it announced Tuesday. The IBA's executive board accepted management's proposals to reduce the ever-growing deficit, which will be an estimated NIS 150m. by the end of December. The management team said the reasons for the deficit included: failure to advance the reforms that obligate the IBA to return more than NIS 40m. to the Finance Ministry; a court appeal by the Histadrut Labor Federation for a ruling that would prevent the IBA from requiring all employees to punch a time clock; cancellation of cutbacks on overtime that would have saved the IBA some NIS 30m.; foot dragging on legislation that would increase the IBA's annual income by NIS 30m.; transfer of NIS 50m. of debts from the previous year to the present year; and failure to exploit potential income from sponsorships and commercials. Measures to be taken in the months ahead include: merging radio, television and administrative teams to reduce manpower and duplication of effort; closing certain studios, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, to prevent anyone from working in them and claiming overtime; elimination of large trucks to carry broadcasting crews and equipment; coordinated vacations for employees to ensure that work they would normally do can be carried out without additional expenditure, or at least with minimal additional expenditure; halting acquisitions and external productions; and putting an end to overseas coverage of events by IBA broadcasters, and camera and sound crews. When an employee retires, quits or dies, he or she will not be replaced, according to the plan. Moreover, there will be a reduction of the existing workforce and much closer monitoring and control of all expenditures. Although management would like to implement efficiency measures as quickly as possible, it will not take any steps before hearing the objections of representatives of the different unions within the IBA. Management will seriously consider all objections, but will not be held hostage by the unions and will begin to implement the new measures on July 1, regardless of the situation, the IBA said. The new efficiency measures, however, would not be enough to solve the IBA's budgetary problems, an IBA representative said.