Fairfax call centre moving to NZ

FAIRFAX Media, which last week revealed it was shifting more editorial jobs from Australia to New Zealand, is also in the process of outsourcing much of its internal call-centre work across the Tasman.  Once it is completed, the bulk of the company’s newspaper and magazine subscriptions and classified ad bookings will be handled by US company Teletech’s call centres in Auckland and The Philippines.

The move was announced to staff late last year and will involve redundancies, although how many jobs will be shed has not been confirmed. A source said Fairfax employed dozens of staff at its call centres in Sydney and Melbourne, although some of its subscriptions work had already been outsourced.  Fairfax announced last week that another 13 editorial jobs would be lost in Australia when copy sub-editing for its Financial Review Group publications, including national business daily The Australian Financial Review, was relocated to its wholly owned New Zealand division, Fairfax Editorial Services.

The company said the move came after a review of FRG operations and that staff were being briefed on the changes.  “The proposed copy sub-editing arrangements would assist in the streamlining of the business and deliver significant cost-efficiencies while ensuring the masthead, magazine titles and digital platforms remain high-quality news sources of choice for FRG’s loyal readers,” Fairfax said in a statement.  “Under the proposal, staff would be retained in Sydney for web production, design and layout and page output.”  Fairfax Editorial Services already produces 11 daily newspapers, 75 community titles and three national weeklies for the company in NZ and Australia. It also provides copy subbing for digital platforms and 12 websites, including NZ’s largest news site, stuff.co.nz.

Fairfax’s offshoring began last May when it announced it would move sub-editing work from its regional titles The Newcastle Herald and The Illawara Mercury and associated community titles to NZ, cutting 66 local jobs.  In July, the company unveiled a plan to shed 1900 jobs company-wide in order to save $235 million over three years. Journalists union the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance has criticised the move. “We will be working with our members to put the case for production to stay in-house,” Alliance federal secretary Chris Warren said.

Sally Jackson, The Australian, Jan 28th 2013.