Following a meeting with union representatives, Canal Plus today released details of a long-anticipated redundancy program at the company. Out of a total 3,038 France-based employees, 305 are set to lose their jobs over the coming months.

In a press release Canal explained that the layoffs are part of a restructuring plan "designed to create a more coherent, profitable organisation, mainly focused on its pay-TV operations in France."

Of those 305 jobs, some 241 will be lost at the Canal Plus pay-channel, Canal Plus Distribution and CanalSatellite. Fifty-four cuts will be made at production and sales arm StudioCanal. Canal also made a proposal to the unions that a further 138 positions be out-sourced.

Canal Plus said that the posts being cut represent mostly administrative and technical support personnel. Those affected will be notified by June 23rd.

Rumours continue to run rampant that the studio could close, or be sold, in the coming months. Frederic Sichler, the newly-installed president is thought to be readying the outfit for dismantling and many industry insiders feel the company is on its last legs.

Still, with the overall low number of layoffs - some had pegged the potential figures at around 700 to 800 - perhaps employees can now rest at ease for a little while.

Canal now says it will focus on returning to profit and reducing debt and should report positive operating income for 2003 under the new structure.