September 14, 2010 / 9:39 PM / 7 years ago

National Post offers buyouts to staff

TORONTO (Reuters) - The entire staff at Canada’s National Post has been offered voluntary layoffs and given until Friday to accept or reject the buyout offer, the newspaper’s parent company said on Tuesday.

The National Post is owned by Postmedia Network, which paid around C$1.1 billion ($1.1 billion) for the newspaper and online publishing assets of Canwest Global Communications CGS.V after the media group filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of a crippling debt load this year.

“It’s a decision at the local level, so National Post management developed a voluntary buyout program for their operation,” said Phyllise Gelfand, Postmedia’s director of communications.

Postmedia employs between 5,000 and 6,000 people across its titles, Gelfand said, declining to say how many of those are at the National Post. The company’s other operations include the Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and Vancouver Sun.

The move follows similar cost-cutting measures in some of Postmedia’s regional newspapers, the Globe and Mail reported on September 3.

Journalists at the flagship National Post were offered three weeks pay for each year of service, a source at the newspaper said, adding that an internal memo was sent last week.

National Post publisher Doug Kelly was not immediately available for comment.

“We often do voluntary buyout programs as a means of reducing costs,” said Doug Lamb, Postmedia’s chief financial officer. “We’re doing that in a number of locations right now.”

The stable of titles Postmedia bought from Canwest also includes the Vancouver Province, Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal.

Cable TV company Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO) paid C$2 billion for Canwest’s broadcast operations during its offloading of assets.

($1=$1.03 Canadian)

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Rob Wilson

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