Toronto Star publisher offering staff buyouts

Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:53pm EST
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By Natalie Armstrong

TORONTO (Reuters) - Torstar (TSb.TO: Quote), the publisher of the Toronto Star, said on Thursday it is offering buyouts to editorial staff, though it would not confirm reports from three Star journalists that it also plans to outsource ad-building, layout and editing duties.

The Star, Canada's biggest daily newspaper, wants to offer immediate layoff packages, reporter Richard Brennan wrote on his Twitter account.

A second source, who declined to be identified, said the newspaper was planning a "major trim" of staff to be completed by the end of the year.

The company confirmed the buyout offer, but stressed the voluntary nature of any exits and said it did not have a target for how many employees would take the offer.

"This is a voluntary program for anybody who's wishing to exit on their own terms," Chief Financial Officer Lorenzo DeMarchi told Reuters.

He declined to give a timeframe or terms for the offer, which has not yet been formally introduced, or to comment on outsourcing efforts, which he said were unrelated.

The Star had been set to outsource some of the jobs earlier but agreed to a union proposal that reduced its operating costs, said a third source, who also said the Star was moving to outsource jobs.

"If we lose too many people now, I fear for the paper we put out," union representative Stuart Laidlaw said. "We've warned the company: you're not just cutting fat any more."   Continued...

<p>A pedestrian walks past a Toronto Star newspaper box in front of the Toronto Star building at One Yonge Street in Toronto January 18, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>