Yesterday’s two hour meeting between editorial staff and Fairfax management over planned
job cuts got “pretty heated,” Fairfax insiders have told Crikey. The
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance is expecting a response within
24 hours, namely over ways in which management could improve the
redundancy packages on offer.

“But there were no guarantees given in terms of anything,” one insider
told Crikey. Management “reiterated their desire that the process be
and that was about it.”

Staff also have serious misgivings about how the papers are going
to operate with less staff. “People are pi*sed off,” said another
insider. The “big sticking point is
that they’ve yet to make a case for any redundancies and if they did,
they’ve yet to make a case as to how they’re going to work around less
staff.” Management have no plan on “how to combat revenue decline and circulation decline.”

A Sydney insider told Crikey that “Melbourne are a
little bit more relaxed because a lot of them are feeling like they
want to
go. We just had a cut a year ago, Melbourne hasn’t had one for ten
years. Cuts are like a death in the family and everyone then works
a*ses off to stay in the same place.” Our insider had been told that
“Melbourne people are now starting to
think that they’ve so bug*ered The Age that there’s no coming back.”

Management are sympathetic to staff concerns about how the new IR
laws will affect them. As one insider said, there’s a “huge worry that
after June next
year they’ll tear up the EBA and all their redundancy provisions will
just go out
the window.”

There are more stop work meetings planned for Melbourne and Sydney today.