Fairfax staff decide against industrial action but vow to fight axing of subs

Fairfax staff have pulled back from strike action after a lengthy stop-work meeting which raised questions about the production of Friday’s editions of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.  

The meetings lasted more than two hours and journalists union The Media Alliance said that about 500 staff attended.

The meetings were called to discuss the company’s plans to outsource production to Pagemasters and make 82 roles redundant.

The journalists also agreed a resolution:

“The staff of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald, The Age and The Sunday Age are appalled at today’s decision by Fairfax to axe 82 sub-editors, designers and artists from our newspapers.

“To argue that the removal of copy editors and an unknown number of artists and designers will increase quality journalism is an insult and it will convince no-one.

“It is also insulting that the company refused viable alternatives put in good faith by a committee of senior production staff from both mastheads over the past five days.

“We have no confidence that the half-News Limited owned Pagemasters will have the skills, the speed or the cultural understanding to maintain the level of quality that we and our readers expect from newspapers with the proud traditions of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“We resolve to fight this decision through a robust public campaign until such time as the company sees sense.”

Media Alliance federal secretary, Christopher Warren, said: “I would hope that people who love these newspapers will voice their dismay at what can only be described as a disastrous plan to gut these two high-quality mastheads. We resolve to do everything we can to reverse this short-sighted decision.”


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