Fifteen staff members have been laid off by Árvakur, Morgunblaðið newspaper’s publisher. The timing of the layoffs is notable, as several of the paper’s staff have been participating in weekly strike action, Vísir reports. The layoffs include at least five staff members who signed a statement criticising Morgunblaðið’s violation of striking journalists.
The layoffs include three sportswriters, as well as Emilía Björnsdóttir, who has been the head of the paper’s photography division since 1974. Sports reporter Guðmundur Hilmarsson, one of those laid off, had worked at the paper for nearly 20 years, while news reporter Anna Lilja Þórisdóttir, who also lost her job, had been working at the paper for nearly ten years.
Journalists are scheduled to strike from 10.00am to 10.00pm tomorrow if the Union of Icelandic Journalists (BÍ) and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SÁ) cannot reach an agreement by then.
Árvakur has around 300 employees at Morgunblaðið, mbl.is, and radio station K100. The company has faced operational difficulties recently, with exponentially growing losses over the past three years.