Australian journalists strike, protest cuts

Fairfax Media plans to cut up to 80 editorial jobs

SYDNEY (Reuters) — Australia's Fairfax Media Ltd , publisher of some of the country's leading newspapers, has told staff it plans to cut up to 80 editorial jobs - many in sub-editing and photography - prompting its journalists to go on a 24-hour strike, local media reports said.

Like other media firms, the 173-year-old company has been struggling with the consumer shift to reading news online and the steep decline in advertising revenues that has brought.

Staff at the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times were notified on Wednesday that the company had proposed cutting its editorial in-house production team to 43 from 67, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The 43 figure includes 10 production team members switching to the newsroom.

The company also plans to cut its photographic team to 20 from 50, and reduce staff at its travel and food publications, it said.

The strike by Fairfax journalists was reported by the Australian Broadcast Corporation and Sky News.

Representatives for Fairfax Media did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Fairfax controls around 30 percent of Australian newspapers, compared with News Corp's 70 percent share. The company's shares closed down 1 percent after the news of the cuts but before reports of the strike action.

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