Unifor plans to fight "massive layoffs" at Vancouver Sun and Province

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      More shock waves are going through the Vancouver media with news of layoffs at the city's two daily newspapers.

      Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham stated on her Facebook page that 54 staff will lose their jobs at Pacific Newspaper Group.

      The Straight has learned that 29 of those layoffs, excluding managers, will occur in the combined Vancouver Sun and Province newsroom.

      According to a company email, anyone who volunteers to give up their job will receive two weeks' pay for every year of service, up to one year's pay. Layoffs will be completed by April 8.

      Earlier this year, 38 Pacific Newspaper Group staff took voluntary buyouts.

      The union that represents newsroom employees, Unifor Local 2000, has issued a news release saying it will "fight the massive layoffs" at the two papers.

      It said that when the 54 positions to be cut are added to the earlier buyouts, this will reduce staffing by 42 percent.

      “The employer has posted almost $18-million in profits," Unifor Local 2000 president Brian Gibson said in the release. "There’s no reason for aggressive job cuts that will further damage the quality of professional journalism that British Columbians rely on."

      Gibson added that the union has not been given an explanation why the company spent $2.3 million on executive bonuses as "hard-working staff are being shown the door".

      Unifor also said that the layoffs are an attempt to "skirt the collective agreement and will ultimately face legal challenges from the union".

      Far fewer journalists will be working at the Sun and Province after April 8.
      Charlie Smith

      In its first quarter, Pacific Newspaper Group's parent company, Postmedia Network Canada Corp., reported net income of $17.8 million, which was a significant improvement over the $4.2-million quarterly loss in the first quarter of the previous year.

      Revenue, however, fell 14.4 percent in the first quarter from $251.1 million to $214.9 million.