Union Only Sackings at Launceston Examiner
Monday, 08 October 2012
Four long-serving staff members at the Launceston Examiner were stunned to be called in earlier this afternoon and told their services were no longer required. They and their colleagues were still reeling from the company’s blunt refusal to consider a staff proposal that would have reduced overall working hours without cutting jobs.
The terminations follow a rushed “restructuring process” aimed at slashing editorial production resources. It seems this is the appalling price union members are being made to pay for standing up for Tasmanian jobs.
Media Alliance Tasmanian industrial organiser Luke Crowley says: “This is a cruel tactic by management at a time when Examiner staff are trying to sit down with them to talk about the future of the company. The company has steadfastly refused to negotiate properly with its employees, has sent them an insulting pay offer and now it has initiated redundancies targeting long-serving employees who happen to be respected Media Alliance members as a way of further intimidating its workers.”
Ever since staff voted 3-to-1 in August to reject an appalling enterprise bargaining agreement, the offered across all Fairfax titles, they have had a sense that the company was gunning for them.
It is 21 days since management embarked on its “sub-hub” proposal. On day 21, the company has sacked four union members and is still to provide a written case of how its restructuring plan can work. It is a case of sack staff now and talk later.
It is little wonder that staff last week passed a resolution of no confidence in their management.
Despite the sub-hub proposal being listed for a further hearing at Fair Work Australia on October 11, the company has decided to press ahead in the apparent hope that they will be able to do as they like.
Fairfax Regional has consistently adopted a hard-line, ideological approach to dealing with unions. It seems to yearn for a return to WorkChoices-style legislation. When staff overwhelmingly rejected an insulting EBA proposal a few weeks ago, the company reduced its pay offer, all the while refusing to provide any evidence about company finances.
“The Media Alliance will now be filing the relevant papers with Fair Work Australia to seek the reinstatement of these staff and to hold the company to account,” Crowley says.