About 100 News Limited staff have reportedly been made redundant across its digital platforms and regional Queensland mastheads.
News Limited announced 70 redundancies across its digital platforms, a union said, while staff at the Townsville Bulletin, News Ltd to cut 70 digital staff Coast Bulletin, Cairns Post and affiliated community papers were told of the redundancies during newsroom meetings this afternoon.
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) said management notified the union of the impending loss of 70 digital platform staff today, less than a week since Australia's biggest newspaper publisher detailed a plan for a major restructuring effort.
MEAA acting federal secretary Paul Murphy said News Ltd's sudden redundancies were a bad start to the restructure.
"The company revealed it was about to embark on a carefully thought-through restructuring process," he said in a statement.
"But less than a week later, without proper consultation or explanation, its digital staff are learning that they are being made redundant at a time when they should have felt assured they would play a vital role in the future of the News Limited business."
Cuts in regional Queensland
It is understood 17 editorial staff at the Gold Coast Bulletin have lost their jobs.
Eight sub-editors each at the Cairns Post and Townsville Bulletin are also understood to have been made redundant.
The mastheads will now be subbed at a central hub based in Brisbane.
News Ltd on Tuesday refused to confirm the numbers.
"We can confirm that as part of rolling out our new operating model to build our business, we have made a range of roles redundant across the business," a spokeswoman said.
"Positions are also being retired through natural attrition.
"Editorial staff, who were directed not to comment about the announcements, took to social media to vent their frustrations."... well that horrible moment finally arrived - en masse ... to my colleagues and friends who lost their jobs today ... you are all in my thoughts," one wrote on Facebook.
Another said: "Crap time to be in the newspaper industry. Thoughts go out to all the subs at The Townsville Bulletin."
News Ltd's chief executive Kim Williams did not specify how many jobs would be lost last week, in stark contrast to Fairfax, which gave a number of 1900 job losses as part of its own restructure.
News Limited did not confirm the number of redundancies in a brief statement on Tuesday evening.
"We can confirm that as part of rolling out our new operating model to build our business, we have made a range of roles redundant across the business," a spokesperson said in a statement.
"Positions are also being retired through natural attrition."
The union is asking for voluntary redundancies in the first round of cuts.