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No need for panic stations say TV3 as leave scheme 'will not mean layoffs'

A VOLUNTARY 'leave' scheme at TV3 is not a prelude to compulsory layoffs, the station said today.

A spokeswoman for the company said staff have no need to be concerned about the initiative, which should be seen as an opportunity for some workers.

Employees at the station were informed of the programme yesterday -- which TV3 insisted today is not a 'redundancy programme' as reported in other media today.

"TV3 has introduced a positive scheme for staff giving them the opportunity to take six months out," said spokeswoman Maureen Catterson.

"TV3 is growing and will continue to grow and it's business as usual as we look forward to our launch next week."

The move reportedly left staff wondering about the future of their jobs, though the company -- which employs about 250 people -- insisted it was not in financial difficulty.

And the spokeswoman told the Herald today: "There is no negativity to this whatsoever. Staff who want to move on, we are offering them an opportunity to move on with a package."

Staff were being offered the opportunity to take a six-month sabbatical, and no enforced redundancies are expected.

"It will not suit everyone but it will suit some people," the spokeswoman said. Asked whether the scheme might be a prelude to compulsory redundancies, she said: "No, it's not."

It is not yet known how many redundancies the station is hoping to achieve. An email informing workers of the scheme said recent falls in the stock market and poor consumer sales have contributed to the company's decision. The broadcaster is owned by private equity gro up Doughty Hanson.

It was profitable according to its last set of results in late 2010.

Meanwhile, confusion broke out at City Channel after an email was sent announcing the suspension of operations at the station was quickly contradicted by bosses. The earlier email said the station had "become the latest victim of the recession and has suspended operations forthwith". But chief executive David Harvey insisted: "City Channel remains in business -- our channels remain on air.

"The company is currently involved in a strategic review of its operations and a number of people have been let go as we examine a number of options for the business and its future.

"This is something which has been happening over the last number of weeks."