* Newsroom "practically empty" after 93 pct back strike
* Workers reject management's new lay-off package
* Management to cut pay 13 pct, say paper making loss
* Spanish media struggles as ad spend falls in crisis
MADRID, Nov 6 Staff at one of Spain's most-read
newspapers, El Pais, started a three-day strike on Tuesday in
protest over a management plan to cut a third of the workforce
to keep the title afloat as advertising income plummets in a
The empty newsroom means a print edition of the daily paper
is under threat for the rest of the week.
Workers had called off a previously planned strike as they
negotiated with Spanish media group owner Prisa, but
discussions reached an impasse.
"The strike has been a success, the newsroom is practically
empty. There are only some subdirectors and managers there," a
representative of the workers' committee said.
Management said on Monday they would scale back planned
dismissals to 139 out of the paper's 460 posts and cut salaries
for remaining staff by 13 percent. Staff rejected this new
proposal and 93 percent voted in favour of a strike.
The management plan also includes early retirement for some
workers. Staff took a pay cut of around 20 percent in 2011, the
workers' representative said.
Dozens of media outlets in Spain have closed since the
country's economic crisis erupted in 2008 as a housing boom
fueled by cheap credit turned to bust.
El Pais was founded in 1976, during Spain's transition to
democracy following the death of dictator Francisco Franco and
gained a reputation as the newspaper of democratic Spain. But it
ran into debt troubles when it bought out the minority shares of
its Sogecable pay-TV unit soon before the 2008 financial crisis.
Prisa lost 31 million euros between January and September
this year. The company, with assets across Latin America and
Europe, said strong growth overseas was overshadowed by weakness
in print media and radio, particularly in Spain.
Prisa's Chief Executive Juan Luis Cebrian angered staff with
comments two weeks ago that workers over 50 no longer fitted the
"We can't keep living so well," he said. Cebrian earns 13
million euros a year and workers facing pay cuts have demanded
he return some of his high salary.
Advertisers in Spain expect to spend 15.1 percent less this
year, according to a survey published by media consultancy
El Pais had an average circulation of 345,000 in the year to
end-June 2012, according to Spain's circulation registry ( OJD).
The Madrid-based paper reported last Tuesday that it had
made a loss for the first time this year.
El Pais has regional offices in Spain and is also printed
across Latin America and in Britain, Italy and Belgium.
(Reporting by Robert Hetz; Writing by Clare Kane; Editing by
Tracy Rucinski and Mark Potter)