Fairfax Media staff strike following job cuts

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 3 May 2017
Fairfax staff are striking [Image: Lucy Cormack]

Staff at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne have voted to walk off the job for a week following Fairfax Media's announcement that it will cut 125 editorial jobs.

The job cuts, which impact 25% of Fairfax's metro newsroom, are part of a $30 million restructure announced earlier this year.

It means staff will not cover the federal budget next week. 

The strike brings into question the ability for Fairfax to publisher its newspapers during the strike, which could have significant implications for ads running during that time. 

A Fairfax spokesperson the company is disappointed by the strike, but it will not impact the production of its newspapers.

“We are disappointed in the decision by some of our masthead journalists to take unprotected industrial action for seven days after a month-long consultation period about necessary changes in our metro media business," Fairfax says.

"But it is not the first time we have had industrial action.  As in the previous episodes, we will continue to publish across print and digital as usual.”

Editorial director Sean Aylmer has sent an email to Fairfax staff threatening "disciplinary action" and docked pay for the staff that strike, citing "unlawful industrial action".

https://twitter.com/MarkDiStef/status/859636630671548416

Staff were informed of the cuts by email and in a meeting with Aylmer. 

"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," Aylmer said.

Fairfax will also cap rates offered to freelance contributors and slash payments to casuals.

Aylmer also signalled a change in editorial focus with the key mastheads, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WA Today, publishing fewer state-based stories.

Fairfax staff went on strike last year, also protesting job cuts. Sources close to AdNews at the time said the company "stuck in a schizophrenic mode".

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