Fairfax announces unprecedented offshoring of jobs
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Fairfax Regional Media announced today that it is proposing to relocate the editorial production positions of the Illawarra Mercury, Newcastle Herald and seven associated community titles being the Lake Times, Kiama Independent, Newcastle Star, Myall Coast Nota, Port Stephens Examiner and Lakes Mail to Fairfax Editorial Services in New Zealand.
The proposed editorial changes will affect a total of 56 FTE positions, and a total of 66 staff, who will be offered voluntary redundancies or redeployment. If insufficient staff accept voluntary redundancy or cannot be redeployed then management have informed the Alliance that staff will be forcibly made redundant.
Affected staff were informed at meetings held this afternoon where they were also informed that a consultation period will occur between now and close of business Tuesday, June 5.
The Alliance has rejected the company’s proposals and believes relocating key editorial staff offshore will only inhibit the newspapers ability to tell quality local news, the very reason for the papers existence.
“This is a very dangerous step for Fairfax to be taking,” Alliance federal secretary Chris Warren said.
“There has been no experience in Australia of companies making the decision to offshore such a central part of the newspaper and this can only destroy the vital nexus between the newsroom and the community.”
“Newspapers are not just the product of photographers’ or journalists – sub-editors are the heart of the newsroom, with vast institutional and organisational memories, and an intimate knowledge of their community.”
“It is our belief that the entire staff should always be embedded in the community to enable the newspaper to tell the local story accurately.”
“This is an alarming precedent that could be replicated on other mastheads like the Sydney Morning Herald or The Age and should be stopped before it’s too late.”
The Alliance will be forensically involved with consultations between now and Tuesday to endeavour to ensure staff are not only fully informed but that job losses are kept to a minimum and that those who do accept redundancies are fully recompensed.