"Selling off the silver?"
"Well, that's what most people here seem to be saying," a fellow AFP hack told me from the factory this morning.
AFP's Board of Governors is considering a proposal to sell off the news agency's Paris headquarters building -- with the idea that AFP remains in the premises and would buy it back in 12 to 18 years' time.
Because AFP, whose board consists of French government representatives, the country's media barons and a couple of people elected by the journalists and other employees, desperately needs the cash.
For a four-year development plan, as the current big boss, Bertrand Eveno, presents it.
Today's 'Libération' (Fr) tells a part of the story.
If I were there, among the other union leaders (though my role now is less prominent than of yore) meeting to decide on the precise response, I'd be expressing strong opposition to such a deal.
Update: They did. Along with a "large majority" of the staff at HQ, who have ceased work. A union buddy in the thick of it tells me he hasn't seen such an impressive general meeting on the main news floor of the building in a "long, long while."
Time after time, this season of the year has seen the presentation successive "plans to save AFP", which have been thrown out after tough action, sometimes strikes, by the journalists.
Yes, the factory is in trouble. It has been for a while. We people who work there are, on the whole, deeply committed to both its survival and its development as one of the world's top three news agencies.
The same can't be said of all the members of the board.
AFP will survive this crisis as it has many others since it was founded anew after World War II (the official AFP potted history), but the long-term solution has to be a far more imaginative one than staking everything on the concrete assets, leaving us with very little set in stone.
I've long reckoned (and argued in many a meeting with management) that the French need to look across the Channel for models as to how it might better be done.
2:04:38 PM link