Fairfax journos strike for week over cuts

The company, which publishes The Australian Financial Review, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, will open a voluntary redundancy round seeking to cut 125 full-time equivalent positions - 10 full-time positions have already left the business in the past month.

Fairfax editorial director Sean Aylmer said in a note to staff that working groups and discussions with staff before Wednesday's announcement provided some original and creative ways to save costs. Fairfax axed 120 editorial jobs from its newsrooms in Sydney and Melbourne a year ago in an earlier cost-cutting exercise.

Fairfax is the main rival to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Australia, which is also suffering from falling revenues and also has announced plans to cut jobs.

Fairfax is also reducing its casual workforce with the saving of $3 million, reviewing its third-party contracts and auditing all contributors.

Shares in Fairfax, which publishes The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, rose almost 2 percent on Thursday to hit a five-week high of A$1.09 a share, a gain of more than 50 percent from a two-year low hit in November 2016.

According to the United Kingdom daily's report, as the industrial action is unlawful the company may attempt to order the journalists back to work tomorrow.

The decision provoked an angry reaction from the journalists union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).

Nichols slammed the cuts, saying it is "shocking and we condemn management who have tried to cut their way to quality, which is absolutely impossible, and the fact that they have failed again to try and find an alternative solution".

Sydney Morning Herald transport reporter Matt O'Sullivan said staff were "incredibly disappointed" about the decision to sack a quarter of its journalistic workforce.

  • Zachary Reyes