Postmedia, union reach deal to save jobs at Van­cou­ver Sun, Prov­ince

Regina Leader-Post - - FINANCIAL POST - SEAN CRAIG

Union mem­bers at the Van­cou­ver Sun and the Prov­ince ap­proved a new col­lec­tive agree­ment with Postmedia on Wed­nes­day that will save 21 jobs at the two pub­li­ca­tions.

Postmedia Net­work Inc. an­nounced it would lay off 54 peo­ple at Pa­cific News­pa­per Group, its Bri­tish Columbia sub­sidiary that over­sees the two news­pa­pers. That fol­lowed 38 vol­un­tary buy­outs at PNG in Jan­uary, which Uni­for said taken to­gether with the lay­offs would have amounted to a 42 per cent re­duc­tion in staff lev­els.

Un­der the terms of the new CBA, all non-ad­ver­tis­ing em­ploy­ees agreed to work nine days ev­ery two weeks, thus tak­ing a 10 per cent pay cut in or­der to save their col­leagues’ jobs.

Ad­ver­tis­ing staff will also see a 10 per cent salary cut, but will still have to work the same full­time hours with the op­por­tu­nity to make up the re­duc­tion in pay through com­mis­sion.

Uni­for Lo­cal 2000 mem­bers voted 82 per cent in favour of the new agree­ment at a meet­ing held Wed­nes­day evening.

“I voted yes to save jobs even though it’s frus­trat­ing to get paid 10 per cent less de­spite work­ing for a prof­itable news­pa­per,” said Van­cou­ver Sun crime re­porter Kim Bolan. “I hope (Postmedia pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul) God­frey re­ally does in­vest in jour­nal­ism in­stead of con­tin­u­ing the cuts.”

The agree­ment, which Postmedia has the right to re­open af­ter 18 months, also pro­tects mem­bers from fur­ther in­vol­un­tary lay­offs and in­tro­duces a mod­i­fied ben­e­fits pack­age.

“This is a good ex­am­ple of man­age­ment and the union work­ing to­gether to find ef­fi­cien­cies within the col­lec­tive agree­ment that al­lowed us to pre­serve con­tent and in­vest in our edi­to­rial prod­ucts,” God­frey said in a state­ment.

“Be­cause of the hard work done by the bar­gain­ing com­mit­tee we were able to find ways to pre­serve as many jobs as pos­si­ble and keep strong lo­cal voices in the Van­cou­ver Sun and Prov­ince,” said union pres­i­dent Brian Gib­son in a state­ment.

While the news is a pos­i­tive sign for jour­nal­ism in Van­cou­ver and Bri­tish Columbia, Postmedia said ear­lier this month that it will con­tinue to pur­sue cost-cut­ting af­ter the com­pany cut 20 per cent of its to­tal salary costs through buy­outs and lay­offs in re­cent months.

The com­pany lost $26.5 mil­lion in the sec­ond quar­ter of its 2017 fis­cal year, with rev­enue de­creas­ing 13.5 per cent year-over-year to $180.8 mil­lion for the three months end­ing Feb. 28.

Sav­ings from the salary cuts, which took place across the com­pany in late 2016 and early 2017, were al­ready ev­i­dent in the quar­ter: Postmedia spent $76.7 mil­lion on com­pen­sa­tion for the three­month pe­riod, around 15 per cent less than the $90 mil­lion it spent in the same pe­riod a year be­fore.


The of­fices of Postmedia’s Van­cou­ver Sun and Van­cou­ver Prov­ince news­pa­pers are seen at the city’s Granville Square. Postmedia and Pa­cific News­pa­per Group have reached a deal that will save 21 jobs.

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