Fairfax announces 80 job cuts

Job losses to affect photographers, picture editors and production staff.

The Australian

Fairfax has announced it will sack 80 newsroom staff across production, layout and photographics, outsourcing the work to contributors and external agencies, like Getty images.

Fairfax editors told devastated staff this morning of the job losses, which will affect long-serving photographers, senior picture editors and layout and production staff.

The proposal will see only 10 photographers remain at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age mastheads, including their Sunday editions.

It’s a reduction of at least 30 full time staff, with photography work outsourced to the photo-agency, Getty.

The Age editor, Andrew Holden, could not confirm his newspaper will not shut down, telling staff it will remain for the foreseeable future.

Senior reporter at The Age, Miki Perkins, tweeted this morning during a staff meeting called by Mr Holden to announce the changes.

“Holden says daily paper isn’t going anywhere soon. Staff ask Holden how long he has known about it. He says 'some time',” Ms Perkins tweeted.

“Holden told that his argument reminds staff of the Black Knight in Monty Python. 'It’s only a flesh wound.'

“About 60 jobs lost at Fairfax between Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. Actually has been revised up to 80.”

The job losses will affect photographers, journalists in food and travel and layout and production staff.

The subbing and layout of stories has already been outsourced from within the newsrooms to hubs in New Zealand.

During the meeting, staff raised concerns about the subbing quality of their articles, saying there were “lots of errors”.

“People are worrying about diminishing quality,” Ms Perkins tweeted.

A Fairfax spokesman confirmed the changes, saying discussions this morning started with staff and there will be “new arrangements” in editorial production, life media and photographic.

Australian Publishing Media managing director, Allen Williams, sent a note detailing the redundancies to all employees.

“The proposed changes outlined below are focused on the continuing transformation of our business. We must deliver our high-quality content in the most efficient way possible,’’ it said.

“We will be consulting with affected staff and holding briefings to address any questions you may have about each of the proposed new arrangements.”

Mr Williams said Fairfax has a long relationship with Getty and already used the agency for coverage of sport and online.

In the Life Media division,  the changes will see full-time staff lose their jobs to be replaced by freelancers and contributors.

"New arrangements would see Life Media restructure some of its divisions to make greater use of contributors to deliver editorial content," Mr Williams said in the statement.

Fairfax will open it up to voluntary redundancies initially, but would not rule out compulsory redundancies, with the job losses to occur by December 2014.

During the formal HR process, Fairfax employees have two weeks to give their feedback and come back with other proposed alternatives.