The Toronto Star has cancelled plans to outsource editing jobs, in a move that will substantially reduce the number of job cuts planned.
The newspaper announced in November that it was outsourcing all copy-editing and cutting 78 editing jobs, eight of which were part-time and the rest full-time. This constitutes one fifth of its total editorial staff of 390. Revenue at the paper's parent company, Torstar, had fallen 13% in the last quarter and the cuts were expected to save around $4 million a year.
The union and the paper have reached a deal to keep editing duties as part of the internal operations, saving around 35 jobs. The rest will still be cut, though, through layoffs and voluntary redundancies. Design and layout of the paper's ads will still be outsourced.
The agreement is still tentative, and will be voted on by union members on Thursday.
Publisher John Cruickshank said in a statement to staff: "Regretfully, this alternative to contracting out will still result in a number of layoffs in the newsroom, with details on specific numbers to be communicated as soon as possible."
Union head Maureen Dawson told the Star she had mixed feelings. "I am pleased we were able to save some jobs and to work with the company," she said. "I am also sad there will be lots of good people who will be leaving involuntarily."
Another proposal by the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild aimed to prevent layoffs in the Star's prepress department. The union and the company were not able to agree on that proposal, Dawson said.
Torstar has been in the news recently as a potential buyer for some of the bankrupt Canwest newspapers. So despite falling revenue, it's keeping staff on and maybe acquiring new titles: are these signs that things are looking up?