Glenn Dyer writes:


Rather
than being handled with compassion and sensitivity, the latest round of
redundancies at Nine is lurching into a nasty, bitter
affair.

There’s
Nine’s Number two, Jeff Browne, a man who described network TV as a “bucketful
of contracts”. The network demotes Mark Llewellyn and halves his salary as Director of News and Current Affairs,
making him Executive Producer of Production (very Catch 22) and he’s expected to
abide by the broken old contract? That was a three-year deal signed with Sam
Chisholm. A
senior producer at one program asks for a voluntary redundancy, is accepted and is
then pressured to sign a six month no compete clause so he won’t go anywhere
else. And Nine fails to make an offer to pay him for
the six months.

Meanwhile, details are emerging on the 100 job cuts slated for Nine’s
News and Current Affairs division, with a list to be sent to each
manager and supervisor of programs in Sydney later today detailing the
85 people who have asked for voluntary redundancy.

But staff asking for redundancy and with service contracts
are finding Nine are saying that a two-year contract is a one-year contract. And others
who put their hands up for packages have been
asked to stay on for an extra three months to handle the transition of various programs
to new forms. Everyone is starting to reach for their lawyers.

It seems there
has been no planning of the transition at all. The list was prepared in
Park
Street and forced on Nine, with those responsible
turning their attention to casinos, magazines or taking in the tennis at
Wimbledon, or following the World Cup Soccer to Germany.

Meanwhile, Nine’s
director of communications, Chris Lacy, resigned yesterday after less than a
year in the job. She had been hired by Sam Chisholm. Lacy had
been partly blamed by some at Nine for the appalling press release announcing
the replacement of the head of News and Current Affairs, Mark Llewellyn, with Garry Linnell
from The Bulletin, while Llewellyn would now be the EP of Production (a demotion)… and by the way 100 jobs are going in the
next two weeks.

It now
seems she had nothing to do with the authorship of the release, because Nine has
appointed Sydney PR firm Third Person as its official spokesman in the wake of
Lacy’s departure. Third
Person is run by Ross Thornton, who used to work for NSW Liberal Party Premier
John Fahey and conducted work for John Brogden, the former
Opposition Leader. The firm, a breakaway of operatives from the Cannings firm of financial consultants, is also
handling the punted head of the ASX-SFE, Tony D’Aloisio.

Could a
Third Person have been involved in writing perhaps the most disingenuous piece
of PR spin for years?

Peter Fray

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