Australian journalists strike after 125 jobs cut at Fairfax

Credit: MEAA

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) in strongly crticising the latest decision by Fairfax to cut 25 percent of its journalists to save money. The IFJ stands in solidarity with the Fairfax staff, who received the news of World Press Freedom Day.

Today, May 3, Fairfax management issued an internal notice to all staff telling them that 125 full-time positions would be cut in an attempt to save the company AUD30 million. According to reports, in the notice to staff, editorial director, Sean Aylmer, said: “We will shortly open a voluntary redundancy program to achieve a reduction in staff of up to 125 [full-time equivalents] which includes the approximate 10 FTEs that have left the newsroom since this process began last month. While we will be looking across all parts of the newsroom, at the end of the redundancy program we expect there will be significantly fewer editorial management, video, presentation and section writer roles.”

Following the notice, staff at Fairfax publications, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age met and agreed to a seven day strike starting at 3pm today. At the staff meetings, all staff passed the following resolutions:

•       Rejected the cuts proposed by the company,

•       Will not accept any forced redundancies,

•       Want any voluntary rounds to be open for at least three weeks (as opposed to the company’s one week), and

•       Want senior management to take a 25 per cent pay cut.

MEAA CEO, Paul Murphy, said: “None of the other parts of the Fairfax business are worth anything without the journalism and yet it is the journalism that Fairfax always cuts. The editorial staffs are really angry. They think the company has made a terrible decision that is not in the best interests of the company, its audience or its staff.” Since January 2015, Fairfax has cut over 200 jobs across Australia in attempts to save money, however the latest decision will simply mean huge reductions to the Fairfax mastheads. The IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “On the day that we stand together and celebrate the brave work of journalists across the world, we are now standing in solidarity with our Fairfax colleagues and their continued fight for their jobs. We call on the Fairfax management to take immediate steps to remedy the situation, without losing more jobs.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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