April 20, 2017 8:28 am

B.C. newspaper staff approve job-saving deal

Copies of Postmedia-owned newspapers the Vancouver Sun and Province are displayed at a store in Burnaby, B.C., on Tuesday January 19, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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A union representing staff at two B.C. newspapers says the employees have voted 82 per cent in favour of an agreement to save some jobs after dozens were served with layoff notices.

Postmedia announced plans last month to lay off 54 employees at the Vancouver Sun and the Province in a bid to cut costs at the newspaper chain.

Unifor Local 2000, which represents the workers, said last Sunday that a tentative deal had been reached with the company that includes saving “a number of jobs.”

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READ MORE: Jobs at Vancouver Sun and Province to be saved through Postmedia deal: union

Following Wednesday’s vote in favour of the agreement, the union said the deal will save 21 of the 54 jobs slated for layoff and that a further 20 employees will be able to leave voluntarily through a staff reduction plan or through voluntary severance.

Unifor Local 2000 also said it was able to negotiate protection from involuntary layoffs for the life of the agreement, which runs from April 21, 2017 to April 30, 2020 and does not include a wage increase.

It said Pacific Newspaper Group has the option to open the agreement for negotiation after 18 months, but only for a 30-day window.

Postmedia failed to reach a target it set last fall to reduce its salary costs by 20 per cent and subsequently issued layoff notices to some employees at the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette and the Windsor Star.

The union says there were 135 votes in favour of the B.C. agreement and 29 against.

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