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Media Alliance demands clarity over News Limited redundancies

sm mediaNews Limited’s sudden announcement of up to 70 redundancies among its digital platform staff is a poor start to its restructuring process. In his video address to staff last week CEO Kim Williams talked about investing in new technology to make "our workforce properly enabled for the digital world.”

The Media Alliance says the manner in which the company chose to make its announcement is a concern. Acting federal secretary of the Media Alliance Paul Murphy says: “Last week the company revealed it was about to embark on a carefully thought-through restructuring process. But less than a week later, without proper consultation or explanation, its digital staff are learning that they are being made redundant at a time when they should have felt assured they would play a vital role in the future of the News Limited business.”

News Limited is embarking on massive change throughout its business. “It’s clear the restructure could mean the loss of a very large number of jobs. Now, suddenly, before the restructure has even properly begun, a small group of employees have been targeted for redundancy in advance of everything else the company intends to do,” Murphy said.

“This is a bad start. News Limited must not pick-off small groups of employees like this. Where is the fairness in a process like that? Under these circumstances how can News Limited staff make a rational decision about their futures? What’s to say these people with their in-demand skills won’t be needed by the company in 12 months’ time?”

The Media Alliance and it members want to work with the company to achieve a successful transition to the digital future. Today’s announcement is a setback.

The Media Alliance is calling on the company to provide all employees with full details of the planned restructure so that staff can gain an understanding of where they fit in the News Limited of the future.

“The company must consult with staff about the intended job losses at the earliest opportunity. All redundancies should be voluntary in the first instance. The redundancy process must be transparent, and the company must offer employees the relevant redundancy package as required under the enterprise agreement,” Murphy said.

The company has told the Media Alliance that it remains committed to a consultation process around its restructure and any job losses that may result. We are meeting with the company to discuss the announced changes and how the restructure will continue to unfold.

The outcome of those discussions will be reported to members early next week.