According to the budget figures, the VRT must make 2.4 million euro in savings next year, rising to 12 million euro in 2024. However, bosses at the Flemish public broadcaster say that “there is more”.
"As a result of, amongst other things,. not index-linking the grant (given by the Flemish Community to the VRT each year) and the extra costs resulting from an aging workforce (such as higher wages for those with a long record of service and extra pension contributions). The total amount required in savings will reach more than 40 million euro in 2024.”
"The unease about the impact on the VRT, the media industry and as an extension of this the creative sector in our country in general is great. We need time to study the figures more thoroughly. Having made this analyse we will engage in talks with the Media Minister (the Christian democrat Benjamin Dalle), the Flemish Government and the Flemish Parliament”, the public service broadcaster’s management said in a statement.
"The lower limit has been reached”
"Our round of savings began in 2007. Over the past 12 years 600 member of staff have had to leave the VRT. In addition to this our grant has been cut by millions. We have taken severe measures year after year. We hope that the government and the Flemish Parliament will realise this”, the VRT Spokesman Bob Vermeir said.
Management at the VRT already have a plan for the 2.4 million euro that they will need to save next year. It says that this will give it time to talk to the Flemish Government and the Flemish Parliament about the possibility of maintaining “a flexible and resolute public service broadcaster”.
Jobs under threat?
The socialist trade union ACOD says that the cuts will threaten 250 jobs at the VRT. However, management is keen to stress that for the time being at least no one at the broadcaster need fear for their job.