Journalists at Fairfax publications walked off the job after mass meetings on August 28. The journalists, members of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), struck for a pay increase and against the announced sacking of 550 staff from Australian and New Zealand Fairfax operations.
The industrial action affected publications in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle and the Illawarra. The MEAA said that Fairfax's job cuts, to save $50 million, will have a debilitating effect on good quality journalism.
The journalists are campaigning for a 5% pay increase. On its "Fair go Fairfax" website, the MEAA states that the company's offer of 4-4.5% is below inflation, and that a 5% increase would still be is less than the last pay rise given to Fairfax's top seven executives. The two top executives take home a whopping $4,533,072 between them.
In Newcastle, 30 journalists rallied in Civic Park. They argued that local content in regional newspapers is under direct threat from the job cuts.