IBA to start implementing reforms

The reforms have been on the agenda for more than 20 years, will aim to reduce the work force by 700 employees.

IBA logo 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of IBA)
IBA logo 311
(photo credit: Courtesy of IBA)
The implementation of proposed reforms in the Israel Broadcasting Authority, which have been on the agenda for more than 20 years, will begin on December 1, the IBA executive announced Tuesday.
In August, the IBA, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Treasury and the Israel Lands Administration signed a finance agreement, but it would not go into effect before the removal of certain obstacles – including a Knesset amendment to the law on broadcasting levies; the Industry, Trade and Labor minister signing wage agreements; and the Knesset Finance Committee’s approval of the budget for financing the reforms.
In recent weeks, the IBA’s executive and institutions have been working hard to overcome the difficulties, the last of which was the removal of a condition the Israel Lands Administration had imposed regarding vacating the IBA’s sprawling Tel Aviv studios.
As of December 1, the broadcasting authority will enter into new wage agreements, employees will punch a time clock, the authority will find a way to work out payments it owes employees, and the style of management will change to suit the current communications market.
The process will begin with the voluntary retirement of employees who would rather jump than be pushed, after which there will be dismissals among those who stay, with the aim of reducing the work force by 700 employees – a 40-percent cut in manpower. At the same time, the IBA will begin to invest more in technology, local productions and archive preservation.
Nearly all of this has been promised repeatedly in the past, and hundreds of IBA employees were in limbo for years, unsure if or when the axe would fall. The essential difference this time is that a date has been proposed, though until that date arrives, there is still no guarantee that the reforms will go through.
While the Jerusalem Journalists Association welcomed the announcement, its chairman, Danny Zaken, pointed out in a letter to IBA director-general Yoni Ben- Menachem that the reforms could not go ahead without the executive sitting down with union representatives to clarify the conditions under which employees would be dismissed and any possible alterations to the list of employees slated for dismissal.