Monday, 5 March 2007

Winnipeg Sun deux

Toronto Sun Family blog readers in Winnipeg e-mailed us this story, published Saturday in the Winnipeg Free Press:

By Nick Martin
The Winnipeg Sun will offer a buyout package to its 45 newsroom staff Tuesday morning in a first step to cutting six jobs, the newspaper's head office said Friday.

"There will be a voluntary termination incentive program. There will be a package offered Tuesday. All in all, it's six out of 45," Luc Lavoie, executive vice-president of Quebecor Inc., said from Montreal.

"This is part of something we announced last year, a reconfiguration of our newspaper operation," he said.

Lavoie would not be specific about the jobs to be cut, but said that changes to Sun Media's national operation would mean there will be fewer copy editors needed at each newspaper.

He said national news, sports and entertainment will be centralized in 'centres of excellence.' National pages will be laid out in London, Ont., and sent to the nine English-language urban newspapers in the chain.

"Newspapers will dedicate their full resources to local news," Lavoie said.

He would not discuss details of the severance package, or discuss how layoffs would occur if enough employees do not accept a buyout.

"I don't want them to find out by reading your paper - it's a matter of respect," he said.

The union learned about the impending job losses in a meeting with Sun Media Friday.

"All we know is there's going to be layoffs at the Sun newsroom Tuesday. The people don't know who it is," or how many, said Paul McKie, national representative with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union.

"They just said there would be a meeting Tuesday morning in the newsroom," McKie said.

The company did not say how many unionized newsroom staff would be let go, said McKie.

"Layoffs are by seniority," he said, but the company did not say what types of jobs it is cutting. Within the newsroom, there are classifications of reporter, editor, photographer, and columnist.

"To my knowledge, there have never been layoffs at the Winnipeg Sun," McKie said. "It's always been a lean machine."

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