The first day of a three day strike at Spanish newspaper El Pais began today in protest at 149 job losses and forced early retirements. The cuts, equal to a third of the workforce, are part of a restructuring plan by El Pais' parent company Prisa. 92% of El Pais journalists voted in favour of striking according to a statement from the editorial board.
In a separate statement, 20 well known industry names voiced their concern at "events" at El ais. Among them were Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, Javier Marias, Almudena Grandes, Rosa Montero, Fernando Savater, David Trueva, Antonio Munoz Molina, Elvira Lindo and Edward Jorge.
They flagged up censorship cases reported by the editorial board, and connected to the restructuring plan.
"Censorship is a further step towards the deterioration of the fundamental values of a newspaper critical liberty and Spanish democracy", the statement said.
It also praised the professionalism and quality represented by the editorial staff during the paper's 35 years of existence.
Restructuring plans, announced in recent weeks by Prisa group President, Juan Luis Cebrian, include 128 layoffs and 21 early retirements.
Santos Julia and columnist Enric Gonzalez, two of the paper's best loved journalists, have already quit. In mid October, the editorial board announced that it would report El Pais editor Javier Moreno for "threatening workers" and forcing them to sign articles, despite bylines being withdrawn as a sign of protest. The editorial board has called a Madrid Press Association conference tomorrow.