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End of an era: Fairfax and News confirm landmark newspaper printing deal
Fairfax Media and News Corp have announced a ‘landmark’ consolidation initiative that will see the once bitter rivals sharing each other’s printing networks.
Fairfax flagships The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, Financial Review will
now be printed at News Corp’s Chullora site. “As part of new arrangements, Metro work currently produced at North Richmond will transition to News Corp’s Chullora print site,” Fairfax told the AMWU this morning via email. “This change will open up print windows allowing North Richmond to absorb work from Fairfax’s Beresfield site, including for a number of ACM titles, as well as some products for News Corp.
“The announced changes
will impact printing schedules
at the North Richmond site. Once the transition of work
is complete, the company will assess its operations, including rostering and staffing levels, and consult and engage with staff regarding any changes that may be necessary.”
In statements to the ASX
on Wednesday morning, the companies say News Corp will provide a range of printing services for Fairfax in New South Wales and Queensland, while Fairfax will print publications for News Corp out of its North Richmond (NSW) plant.
“These are landmark initiatives,” said Fairfax CEO and managing director Greg Hywood. “They demonstrate a rational approach to the complex issues facing the industry. The printing arrangements make the production of newspapers more efficient for both publishers. Better utilisation of existing print assets makes sense and will deliver economic benefits to Fairfax Media.”
Greg Hywood, CEO Fairfax Media.
Hywood says there will be no change to the availability of Fairfax newspapers. “The agreements deliver greater cost variabilisation, enabling us to produce newspapers well into the future.
“Our decision to rationalise some printing assets reduces capital intensity. We expect
the combination of the new arrangements, and the changes to Fairfax’s printing network to result in an annualised full-year benefit of approximately $15 million.
“From today, we are consulting with staff at our printing centres affected by the new arrangements. Fairfax is committed to providing comprehensive assistance and support and will meet all our employment obligations.”
Following consultation with staff and a transition period, work will progressively shift to other sites and the Beresfield and Ormiston print sites are scheduled to close, Fairfax told the AMWU. “As a result, all positions at Ormiston
and Beresfield sites will be redundant and employees
will be exiting unless suitable redeployment opportunities are able to be identified. 21
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