10 May 2016

30 Australian Fairfax journalists laid off

10:50 am on 10 May 2016

Up to 30 Fairfax journalists have been laid off in Australia, after the company failed to reach its target of 82 voluntary redundancies.

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Photo: AFP

Journalists from the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and the Australian Financial Review will attend meetings today in Sydney and Melbourne after many of their colleagues were told yesterday they had lost their jobs.

Katelin McInerney from the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) said the exact number of those forced into redundancy was still unclear, but it was understood to be between 20 and 30 journalists.

The media firm announced earlier this year it would be cutting 120 jobs across its publications, but Ms McInerney said this was later negotiated down to 82, when the company was able to find savings.

She said staff were called into meetings today by management, and told they were being made redundant.

Ms McInerney said Fairfax staff members who applied for voluntary redundancies were informed if their applications were successful on Friday.

She said staff were shocked and distressed.

"We've been talking to the company for the last week or so putting pressure on them to come to the table to broaden this process outside of just news.

"But unfortunately, the company has taken the step today of making journalists redundant as opposed to looking elsewhere for savings, which is a very disappointing move."

Ms McInerney said the bulk of those laid off appear to have come from Fairfax's business titles.

"Sadly, we are seeing content makers, the frontline staff who produce the news, we are seeing those positions going as a result of these forced cuts."

She said the cuts were across the board, with senior journalists among those losing their jobs.

"These are people who have been with the company for a significant amount of time and have a number of years service under their belt," Ms McInerney said.

"It's terribly disappointing and upsetting for existing staff."

She said the redundancies raised "serious questions" about quality and the ability of staff who remain behind "to continue to produce the calibre of coverage that the Fairfax titles are renowned for".

She said it was unclear whether the workers would challenge the redundancies and staff would hold a meeting at 11:00am tomorrow in Sydney and Melbourne to discuss their response to the company's move, and decide the next step.

"We'll have to wait and see where that goes tomorrow," she said.

Ms McInerney said it was unclear when the redundant workers would have to "leave the building", but said it appeared "the company is moving to push people out the door quite quickly".

She said some applications were knocked back.

"The company has always said they want the right skills to stay within the company," Ms McInerney said.

She said people were told of the forced redundancies in individual meetings or in phone calls today.

Fairfax Media declined to comment.

- ABC

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