Fairfax editorial staff return to work after strike

Striking Fairfax Media editorial staff members across three states began returning to work this morning after walking off the job on Thursday over proposed cuts of 120 full-time positions from its news and business verticals.

The three-day strike involved staff from group mastheads in Victoria, NSW and Queensland – as well as the ACT.

The company described the strike as an “unprotected industrial action”. All papers and websites published as normal during the strike.

Fairfax announced cuts of the equivalent of 120 full-time editorial positions on Thursday morning. It said they would be achieved through redundancies, tightening contributor budgets and reducing travel costs and expenses.

Editorial director Sean Alymer said in an email to staff that the cost cutting would be based on “on our understanding of our audience and the importance of our brands”.

“While we are much more efficient in producing quality journalism, we still have a way to go,” Mr Alymer said in the email.

“Change is a permanent part of our industry. It is a reflection of what we know about the ways our readers are consuming our stories. We must continue to evolve with them.”

The redundancies follow Fairfax’s announcement in February that it would undertake a major editorial restructure of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, the appointment of new editors for The SMH and The Australian Financial Review and half-year results that showed a 4.2 per cent lift in profits, predominately driven by growth in revenue from real estate business Domain.

Mr Aylmer said Fairfax’s reporting would continue to focus on investigations, politics, justice, breaking news, sport, entertainment and business.

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