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INL windfall for staff

By Chris Hutching

Friday 6th June 2003

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A clause in the individual employment contracts of some Independent Newspapers' employees allows them to seek voluntary redundancy in the case of a change in corporate ownership ­ in this case the takeover by Australian publishing group John Fairfax Holdings.

Executives at INL were unable to be contacted by print time yesterday but other sources said the clause had been overlooked and INL may face unexpected redundancy costs as a result. Fairfax has offered all staff continued employment on the same terms and conditions.

INL has told employees it wants an indication of their intentions today.

Collective employment contracts are unaffected.

The move comes on top of other recent redundancies in the group when Wellington's Evening Post was closed but in this case the voluntary option will mainly suit people approaching retirement age or those with long service who stand to gain significant payouts, such as divisional editors who have spent their working life at a particular newspaper.

The unexpected potential windfall is understood to be attracting significant numbers of journalists at the Nelson Evening Mail and the Press in Christchurch.

INL also owns the Dominion-Post in Wellington, the Sunday Star-Times and the Sunday News.

The redundancies may have formed part of the Fairfax game plan anyway but possibly not in the expensive manner they are likely to be achieved.

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