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To protest the planned offshoring of sub-editing tasks to New Zealand, journalists at Fairfax Media voted to go on 36 hours of strike which took effect Wednesday midnight.
The print and online staff who struck are from The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, The Sunday Age, The Sun Herald, the Newcastle Herald and Illawarra Mercury.
The circulation of Fairfax publications have been going down the past few months that Gina Rinehart, the largest stakeholder of the company and the world's richest woman, criticised Fairfax Chairman Roger Corbett for his mishandling the company. Her move is seen as the billionaire's way of pressuring the company to give her a seat in the board of directors.
To stop the continuous decline in its circulation, Fairfax launched in February a three-year $170-million savings programme after the company's share price plummeted more than 50 per cent from a year ago. Fairfax also suffered a 10 per cent fall in revenue.
The worst decline was recorded in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
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Paul Murphy, director of media of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, criticised the decision to offshore the sub-editing jobs to New Zealand.
"Sub-editors are journalists and the heart of the newsroom. They should always be embedded in the community to enable the newspaper to tell the local story accurately," Mr Murphy said in a statement.
Fairfax defended the change since the Fairfax Editorial Services in New Zealand and cited its proven track record of excellence and reliability.
"Understandably our people are unsettled when they see significant changes to the way the business has operated in the past. But as I have stated many times, Fairfax Media is on a journey of change. We are reshaping the way we work. We must continue to do so to thrive in the future," Fairfax Media Chief Executive Officer Greg Hywood said in a statement.
He added that the company is committed to continue consultations with affected employees about the proposed changes.
This article is copyrighted by IBTimes.com.au, the business news leader