Biggest Canadian daily axes jobs as ad revenue falls

March 5th, 2009 - 10:09 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 5 (IANS) Toronto Star, the biggest Canadian daily, Wednesday joined its US counterparts in issuing pink slips, eliminating 60 jobs, all from sales and marketing.
The newspaper said it is axing about 60 unionized staff and managerial positions because of falling advertising revenue.

The layoff news comes a week after Torstar, the parent company of the 116-year-old newspaper, reported a $211.2-million quarterly loss because of falling advertisement revenue.

The group, which also publishes free publications like Eye Weekly, Sway, Desi Life, Canadian Immigrant and runs cable channel Shop TV Canada, said the job cuts will affect sales and marketing jobs only.

No editorial staff has been axed yet.

In a statement, a company spokesman said, “We are facing severe business challenges. No major metro newspaper in Canada or the United States has been spared from the intense financial pressures created by a combination of the severe cyclical and structural revenue declines.”

Reacting strongly to the lay-offs, the Toronto Star union said Torstar CEO Rob Prichard should cover the financial losses of 50 staff axed Wednesday.

“If this organization can pay our friend Rob a package of $8 to $11 million (to leave his CEO chair in May), he can certainly afford to help our colleagues, the ones paying the price today for his mistakes,” said Union leader Maureen Dawson.

She said, “This newspaper cannot survive these tough times without its advertising department staff coming through.

“We obviously think these layoffs are short-sighted, but we’ve also challenged management to demonstrate how this move helps to create better advertising service, for clients and the newspaper.”

CTV, the top Canadian television network, has already announced major cuts in staff amid falling ad revenues. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the public broadcaster, is also seeking more than $65 million from the government to survive the crisis.

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