Disappointed Parisian newspaper readers are yet again scowling in the direction of Presstalis today, as the distribution company’s striking workers have blocked a third title this week from appearing in the kiosks that dot the city’s sidewalks.
This afternoon, it is French newspaper Le Monde that can’t be found among the shelves; yesterday it was business daily Les Echos, and on the weekend Sunday title Le Journal de Dimanche was similarly absent.
Far from ruining breakfast, these repeated disruptions strike at the heart of the news distribution industry, and pose a grave threat to the country’s print newspapers.
Presstalis, the primary player in the distribution sector, is in charge of the delivery of 90 French and international dailies and 3,300 magazines to over 29,000 points of sale across France, with a high concentration in Paris, reports Newsring.
In the last five years, France has seen a 20 percent decline in kiosk sales. The company, facing high costs and eroding revenues, is on the brink of bankruptcy, and its “heavily-unionized” workers have been protesting since December against a restructuring plan that would see nearly half of its 2,500 workers laid off.
This week’s strike actions precede a judgment by a Paris tribunal, expected at the end of the month, which will determine whether the mandate of the current ad hoc administrator, due to expire on September 30, is to be extended. If it is not, and the various stakeholders (the government, Presstalis’s management, and the shareholders) do not reach an agreement, bankruptcy could be the only option.
If this were to happen, the country's news distribution industry, born after the Second World War, would be at risk, and for the country’s newspapers, the consequences could be dire.
Image courtesy of Susan NYC via Flickr Creative Commons