120 jobs to go at Fairfax in Sydney and Melbourne, Staff on strike until Monday

About 120 jobs to go at Fairfax Media in Sydney and Melbourne.

Update:

Despite about 120 editorial staff being on strike until Monday, Fairfax has announced the paper will be published on Friday and through out the weekend as per usual.

Fairfax issued the following statement this evening:

“Fairfax Media Limited advises that some journalists from mastheads including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, the Brisbane Times and The Australian Financial Review are taking unprotected industrial action relating to an announcement to staff today.

The company will continue to publish across print and digital as usual.Fairfax Media Chief Executive Officer, Greg Hywood, said: “We are operating in an ever-changing highly competitive media environment which involves rapid evolution of our publishing model. The initiatives we have proposed today are part of that adaptation and are necessary to sustain high quality journalism.”

The action follows the company making a proposal today to reduce costs across its News and Business verticals in Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms by the equivalent of 120 full-time employees through a combination of redundancies, tightening contributor budgets and reducing travel costs and expenses.
The proposal involves newsrooms becoming more efficient in producing quality journalism.
Fairfax Media has alerted staff that 120 fulltime jobs will be slashed across Sydney and Melbourne.”

Sean Aylmer, the group director of news and business media at Fairfax Media, wrote the following email to staff:

“Hi

We will shortly enter a consultation period with staff and the MEAA on a proposal to reduce costs across News and Business in the Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms by the equivalent of 120 full-time employees.

We believe that we can do this through redundancies, tightening contributor budgets and reducing travel costs and expenses.

Our decisions will be based on our understanding of our audience and the importance of our brands. Our reporting will continue to focus on investigations, state and federal politics, justice and breaking news, sport, entertainment and business.

While we are much more efficient in producing quality journalism, we still have a way to go.

Change is a permanent part of our industry. It is a reflection of what we know about the ways our readers are consuming our stories. We must continue to evolve with them.

I will be holding staff meetings in Sydney today and in Melbourne tomorrow to discuss the proposal.

Thanks

Sean”

The mastheads impacted by the announcement are The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review.

Aylmer has advised staff that he will be holding staff meetings in Sydney today and in Melbourne tomorrow to discuss the changes.

The news comes exactly a month after Andrew Holden, the former editor of the Melbourne daily The Age, publicly announced his intentions to step down.

Twitter has been alight since the news broke just over an hour ago. The Fairfax hashtag has been a trending topic since the announcement, with staffers reacting on the micro blogging site, as well as other tweeting in support of those effected.

Editorial staff from Fairfax’s Sydney and Melbourne have walked out striking against the job cuts. Some tweets from staff indicate they will not return to work until Monday.

The #fairgofairfax hashtag has become the top trending on Twitter in Australia with journalists reporting from the ground, as well as calling on support for the industry.

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