Union: News Limited redundancy numbers are a mystery

The level of redundancies at News Limited remains “a mystery” despite today’s announcement by CEO Kim Williams, journalists’ union the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance has warned.

However, the union welcomed the company’s signal that it appears to be more committed to the print medium than Fairfax Media which this week announced its plans to close two press sites.   

In a statement, the union said: “Today’s News Limited announcement of a restructure of the business with an ongoing commitment to print and digital products has been welcomed by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance. However, because the depth and extent of its planned redundancies during the restructure remain a mystery, this will continue to concern staff operating in a volatile and uncertain environment.”

While Fairfax Media – obliged to offer a higher level of transparency because of its listing on the ASX – revealed that it plans 1,900 redundancies, Williams has declined to give a number, although some speculation has put it close to Fairfax’s numbers.

Paul Murphy, acting federal secretary of the Alliance, said: “While the devil is still in the detail, and we are clearly concerned about the extent of redundancies being flagged by the company, we appreciate that News Limited is carefully considering its future and how it comes to grips with the ongoing transition to digital platforms.”

He also warned against the implications of the publisher’s “one city, one newsroom” strategy for each state when it comes to suburban papers.

He said: “News Limited readers, particularly of the suburban papers, are passionate about their local newspaper. They believe their paper belongs to them. Any restructure of the News Limited business must ensure that local content remains the driving force behind its newspapers.”

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