UAE daily newspaper Khaleej Times has laid off up to 30 people as part of a company restructure.
Last month more than 10 senior members of staff, including the director of advertising, head of supplements and head of periodicals were told to leave with immediate effect, according to sources close to the newspaper.
One week later, up to 10 members of the editorial team and eight from advertising, studio and administration were also dismissed with immediate effect.
Many of those asked to leave had been with the newspaper for more than 10 years.
A now-former Khaleej Times employee, who worked at the newspaper for more than 15 years, told Campaign that staff were given no explanation regarding the decision.
“The first week it was the higher staff,” they said. “The next week there were more meetings and that’s when I was called into HR and asked to leave with immediate effect. We all knew what was happening because of what happened with the senior staff.
“Nobody has any idea why they’re doing this. My letter says restructuring. People are saying it’s because the company is doing badly, but nobody really knows.”
A spokesperson for the newspaper said: “The activities are internal and aligned to the business goals of the organisation.”
The Khaleej Times was founded by the Galadari Brothers Group in 1978 and is today the UAE’s longest-running English language newspaper.
It remains in the ownership of the Galadari conglomerate, of which the Dubai government owns 30 per cent.
It operates Classifieds, a daily tabloid-sized advertising supplement published alongside the main edition, and Wknd magazine, is published on Fridays along with the broadsheet.
Print adspend is currently suffering a steep decline amid low oil prices, an uncertain economic climate and brand budget cuts.
ZenithOptimedia’s March adspend report for the UAE predicted that newspaper spend would fall by a third from $60 million in 2015 to $39 million by the end of this year. Spend is expected to drop again in this area to $29 million in 2017.
Last month, daily newspaper 7Days announced that from January it would cut its six-day circulation down to just one edition a week.