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Fairfax set to lay off 45 more staff - union

Wednesday 22nd June 2011

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New Zealand's biggest newspaper proprietor Fairfax Media is looking to make up to 45 staff redundant by outsourcing their jobs to India, the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) says.

Work compiling newspaper advertisements would go to a creative advertising studio in India, and 10 new "production coordinator" positions would be created in New Zealand, the EPMU said.

The workers - scattered through the country - made up straightforward or day-to-day advertisements, often from templates, for insertion in metro and suburban papers owned by Fairfax Media.

Cuts would be made throughout the country, the EPMU said.

No confirmation was immediately available from Fairfax's leadership in New Zealand.

Fairfax owns The Dominion Post and The Press newspapers, the websites and TradeMe, as well as two Sunday papers, daily regional newspapers such as the Waikato Times, Nelson Mail and Southland Times, and more than 60 community newspapers.

The company cut 82 jobs in May by contracting the sub-editing work on its major metro newspapers in Sydney and Melbourne to Pagemasters, a division of AAP (Australian Associated Press).

Australian chief executive of Fairfax Media Ltd, Greg Hywood this week defended the decision to outsource its sub-editing, saying the "re-allocation of resources" would allow the company to "re-invest in the reporting, and writing and design of the papers".

On the latest proposed layoffs this side of the Tasman, EPMU senior national industry officer Paul Tolich said it was "extremely disappointing" Fairfax had chosen to export highly-skilled jobs.

"At a time when there is high unemployment and insecurity, it's the last thing these workers and their families need," he said.

The newspaper industry was seeking to reduce costs and grow revenue, but local advertising relied on workers spending in their local communities, and they could not spend much money if they did not have jobs.



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