Fairfax staff go on strike over job cuts

Journalists and photographers at Fairfax Media, which publishes newspapers including The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, have gone on strike for 24 hours. They are protesting against the company’s decision to cut costs by laying off another seventy workers. Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), industrial action is a “protected” right only when negotiating a new employment agreement after the old one has expired (usually every 3-4 years). Strikes outside this bargaining period are unlawful, even if they are directly related to changes in employment conditions, and participants can be penalised. Fairfax is threatening to sack staff who do not attend work today.