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Fairfax Sydney staff condemn lack of vision by ‘overpaid and underperforming executives Greg Hywood and Allen Williams’

fairfax logoFairfax Media staff in Sydney have condemned the lack of vision being presented to staff, arguing the quality of journalists leaving the company “is not matched by the overpaid and underperforming executives Greg Hywood and Allen Williams”.

Staff have called on Hywood and Williams, director of Australian Publishing Media at Fairfax Media, to address staff and present their vision for the future of the company.

Fairfax Sydney staff also passed a vote of no-confidence in senior leadership during yesterday’s stop-work meeting, which was called to discuss 30 forced redundancies at the newspaper publishing company after the newspaper publisher failed to attract enough voluntary redundancies.

Hywood

Staff argue Hywood has not demonstrated a strategy to adapt to changing media environment beyond cutting jobs

A resolution passed by Sydney staff during the meeting states: “We believe the quality of the journalists leaving our newsrooms is not matched by the overpaid and underperforming executives Greg Hywood and Allen Williams, who have demonstrated no strategy to adapt to a fast-changing media environment beyond cutting jobs.

“As such this meeting passes a vote of no-confidence in Fairfax senior leadership who have been unable to present a coherent and viable plan to raise revenue for this company.

“We condemn the ongoing lack of vision being presented to Fairfax staff, and we call on Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood and APM Director Allen Williams to address the floor to outline their plans to slow decline and raise revenue to ensure we can continue the important work of delivering quality journalism to our readership.”

Sydney staff have called on Fairfax management to “censure and counsel those managers who breached their commitment to respect and dignity through the inappropriate and highly insensitive manner in which they informed staff of their compulsory redundancy”.

When questioned on the vote of no-confidence yesterday afternoon, Hywood said he was “not aware” of it.

“No one likes likes redundancies, I certainly feel for everyone involved in that process. The industry is changing, people source their news and information in different ways,” he said.

“The economics are very different to what they were. If we don’t respond with, at times, tough decisions, we won’t secure the sort of journalism we will value down the track.”

When questioned on the potential damage the redundancies pose to the Fairfax brand, Hywood said:” What we do at Fairfax, we value the quality of what we do. People say ‘is journalism going to be damaged’? What we say is ‘we focus on delivering the best quality journalism we possibly can’ and we have a belief that we have quality staff that can deliver that well into the future.

“The model changes, the numbers change, but the commitment doesn’t, and our investment into making sure that continues has not and will not change.”

It is understood 30 staff have been made redundant; however, the MEAA is unable to confirm the figure.

Fairfax Media announced plans in March to cut 120 full-time jobs, revising that figure to 100 last month as the company, which publishes The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, opened a voluntary redundancy program.

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