The pips are really being squeezed at German publisher Bauer Media, as it tries to staunch the losses at its Australian magazines. It has already sacked dozens of staff, closed magazines like Cosmo and Cleo, and consolidated operations in other publications. Now word comes from the bunker that Bauer is getting even meaner in sorting out staffing issues.
A source has told Crikey that after merging (“smashing” said our source) Harper and Elle, Bauer is now planning to consolidate into one unit the six “Homes” titles: House and Garden, Belle, Inside Out, Country Style, Real Living and the online HomeLife.
At the same time (and linked to these mergers) is the continuing casualisation of the various magazine teams with new contracts, and no redundancy. For example, there are 15 subeditors across the six titles (nine full-time equivalent positions), which are being cut to three full time. Twelve designers on the mags (including art directors) are being cut to just four designers, one re-toucher and a junior designer.
Bauer is being clever in these changes — the new positions have new titles (i.e. “new jobs”). For example, the chief subeditor and two subeditors are to become three “copy editors”. Each magazine has an editor, a deputy editor and a creative editor — the rest of the work is supposed to come out of the pool.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Only two feature writers will be shared among the six titles, all of which have very different content, audiences and presentations.
A reorganisation this substantial could be expected to take a month or more to work out. But Bauer announced the changes on Monday, with the deadline today (Thursday) for employees to decide whether they’ll apply for positions that have no description of salary details.
Moreover, Bauer has deemed that if full-time staff don’t apply for the new positions they will have been considered to have resigned, deferring redundancy responsibilities.
Crikey contacted Bauer for comment but they did not respond by deadline.