Fairfax to consult with printers

FAIRFAX Media has not committed to consulting with workers in its newsrooms around the country after announcing plans on Monday for 1900 job cuts.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union applied to Fair Work Australia on Thursday for a hearing in the belief the company may have breached its legal obligation to consult with workers about the job cuts.

AMWU officials succeeded in securing a commitment from Fairfax to consult with workers at two of its printing plants.

But in a closed meeting in Melbourne, the company did not commit to consulting with workers in its newsrooms - many of which are in regional areas - as part of the planned job cuts.

ACTU national secretary Dave Oliver said he was pleased with the result of the Fair Work Australia hearing.

"Importantly for workers at Fairfax Media, no job losses will occur at its two printing plants before a consultation process, during which we want to see the company's business case and a thorough explanation of its rationale for making such drastic changes," Mr Oliver said.

"I will today write to Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood to request an urgent meeting and to seek a commitment that the company will not implement any part of their wider plan to cut 1900 jobs until a planned consultation process is worked through.

"We will be asking Fairfax to seriously consider alternative proposals to its plans to cut jobs.

"A second Fair Work Australia hearing has been scheduled for next Wednesday and we look forward to Fairfax beginning its consultation process before then."

The company released a statement on Thursday suggesting Mr Hywood had already specifically spoken about planned consultation with employees.

"Any suggestion to the contrary is a mischievous misrepresentation of the facts," the statement read.

"Fairfax has always been ready and willing to consult with relevant unions and employees affected by Monday's announcement.

"The FWA proceedings ... have delayed scheduled discussions which should have occurred earlier this week.

"We look forward to commencing those discussions and continuing the consultation process.

"We will deal openly and fairly with all employees concerned and provide as much information as possible as those details become available."



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