Due to the rapidly declining general economic situation, the Sanoma News division is seeking to rationalise its operations under the motto 'Bridging the Recession'. The programme was presented to the advisory board of Sanoma News on Monday.

"The economic heartbeat of a newspaper follows the general economic situation. When times get rough, it is inevitably reflected in the amount of job and housing advertisements, which are particularly sensitive and have declined markedly during the last few months," says Mikael Pentikäinen, President of Sanoma News.

Sanoma News will be cutting costs everywhere. This includes the personnel, where the goal is set at reducing 100–200 people out of the current 2,400 employees.

"The personnel reduction will be achieved mainly by offering a severance package, primarily to persons aged 59 and above. Under 59-year-olds are offered a slightly different package. A condition for the package is that the person leaving the company must not be replaced by a new employee," says Pentikäinen.

A severance package will also be implemented in possible statutory employer-employee negotiations. "Preparations to this end are still underway. The number of negotiations depends on the development of the economy," states Pentikäinen.

In addition to the severance package, Sanoma News personnel are encouraged to convert their holiday bonuses to leave. This will be done under the current local agreement and employer-employee negotiations will not be needed.

"The rationalisation programme has been drawn up keeping in mind Sanoma's tradition of good personnel policy. Our aim is to rationalise without impairing the quality of our papers and services. I think it will carry us through the recession," says Pentikäinen.

Sanoma News is the leading newspaper publisher in Finland and part of the Sanoma Group.