Greece’s government on Tuesday announced the immediate closure of public television and radio broadcaster ERT in a move that reportedly affects 2,700 jobs.
“ERT is a case of an exceptional lack of transparency and incredible extravagance. This ends now,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said at a press conference.
Kedikoglou said the organisation will reopen at a later stage under a new format and considerably fewer employees.
All current employees, which according to local media number nearly 2,700, will be compensated and will be allowed to reapply for a job at the revamped organisation, he said.
Greek unions protested at the move.
“In order to keep in line with the (EU-IMF creditors), the government is willing to sacrifice public television and radio,” the ERT union said in a statement.
Public sector union Adedy described the closure as a “coup d’etat.”
On Monday, representatives of Greece’s international creditors from the EU, IMF and European Central Bank began a regular audit of the country’s progress in implementing its austerity programme and structural reforms.
The reforms demanded of debt-laden Greece in return for a bailout include a drastic reduction of the public sector and the merging or closure of public organisations.
ERT employees have been staging work stoppages for months, opposing plans to restructure the broadcaster as demanded by the troika of creditors.