Union told to expect Fairfax redundancies within 60 to 90 days

Representatives from journalists’ union the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance have emerged from talks with Fairfax over today’s bombshell job cuts announcement with little new detail of the company’s plans.

According to a statement from the union, representatives met with Fairfax Media Metro CEO Jack Matthews, and publisher and editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Fray.

A statement from the union tonight said: “Matthews and Fray were able to offer little in the way of detail to expand on the morning’s announcement. Matthews indicated they did not have a proposal to put to us on how redundancies would be handled, other than to say the aim was to see them occur in the next 60-90 days.”

Last month’s announcement that Fairfax was planning to outsource subbing jobs to New Zealand triggered a 36 hour staff walkout. But the union told Mumbrella that the scale of the changes at Fairfax are so large, nobody has even yet begun to think about industrial action, although they did not rule out stop work meetings to discuss the situation.

The union issued a list of requests to Fairfax:

  • Voluntary redundancies and a transparent document setting out how they will go about assessing applications received.
  • A timetable for further detailed consultation.
  • More detailed information about the shape of editorial changes before staff have to decide whether to accept voluntary redundancy.
  • Information on the future of foreign bureaus.
  • Whether there would be further rounds of editorial redundancies in achieving the target of 1900 redundancies.

The union added: “At this stage the Media Alliance expect to meet again with Matthews on Thursday or Friday to discuss the outcome of the editorial review.”

As well as 1,900 job cuts, today’s announcements included The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age moving to compact format in nine months time, the introduction of paywalls and the closure of two print works.


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