Fairfax Media editorial staff in Sydney and Melbourne voted to strike for a week after the company announced the loss of 125 jobs in a $30 million cost cutting exercise.
The journalist positions represent about 25% of editorial staff at the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Australian Financial Review.
A short time ago, Fairfax shares were down 1.8% to $1.06 as the market overall fell around 1%.
A one-week strike would mean no union-member journalists from Fairfax working on federal budget day on Tuesday, May 9. Fairfax, along with other major media groups, fields a large team in Canberra for the budget.
Staff started tweeting the strike news after a stop work meeting:
Sydney Morning Herald journalists have voted to walk off the job for one week – we are on strike
— Michael Koziol (@michaelkoziol) May 3, 2017
— Kate McClymont (@Kate_McClymont) May 3, 2017
— Matthew Doran (@MattDoran91) May 3, 2017
Journalists from other media groups reported Fairfax journalists walking away from their current assignments, including court cases.
The major Fairfax newspapers will be published as usual tomorrow using management staff, a spokesperson confirmed.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
“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.”
Paul Murphy of the journalists’ union, the MEAA, says the savage cuts will only weaken Fairfax’s business further rather than investing in its products and working to achieve smarter outcomes.
“None of the other parts of the Fairfax business are worth anything without the journalism and yet it is the journalism that Fairfax always cuts,” he says.
— MEAA (@withMEAA) May 3, 2017
— Miki Perkins (@perkinsmiki) May 3, 2017
— Rohan Connolly (@rohan_connolly) May 3, 2017
(Disclosure: Allure Media, the publisher of Business Insider, is 100% owned by Fairfax Media.)
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