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Lay-offs at Pacific Newspaper Group lack any justification

Friday, March 10, 2017

Vancouver—Robust profits at Pacific Newspaper Group (PNG), a division of Postmedia Inc., mean that lay-offs announced this week are unnecessary and will undermine journalism in British Columbia, says Unifor.

“The employer has posted almost $18-million in profits. There’s no reason for aggressive job cuts that will further damage the quality of professional journalism that British Columbians rely on,” said Brian Gibson, Unifor Local 2000 president.

On Friday, Postmedia announced it is anticipating 54 layoffs. When combined with the last round of 38 buyouts that happened in January, the job cuts would reduce the entire staff complement by 42 per cent. The union was expecting Postmedia to announce more layoffs and has a plan in place to challenge these aggressive job cuts. Unifor is communicating directly with its members about a legal strategy, a public campaign, and options moving forward.

Unifor Local 2000 is BC’s media union, representing 800 members mostly in the media sector but also Purdy’s Chocolates. This includes staff working in Advertising, IT, Editorial and Reader Sales & Service at the Vancouver Sun and The Province. The union says that if staffing costs are a priority for PNG, they should look at executive salaries and bonuses.

“We received no explanation as to why $2.3-million has been paid out in executive bonuses while hard-working staff are being shown the door,” said Gibson.

Unifor says that PNG has options for buying out senior unionized staff, but the latest round of lay-offs try to skirt the collective agreement and will ultimately face legal challenges from the union.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).