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Economy

Union to fight lay off of 54 employees at Vancouver Sun and The Province

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

A union representing staff in two B.C. newsrooms says it will fight Postmedia’s plan to lay off 54 employees.

Postmedia spokeswoman Phyllise Gelfand said staff losing their jobs at the Vancouver Sun and the Province will stop working about one month from now. The company will give notice to the employees over the next two weeks, Gelfand said.

Unifor Local 2000, which represents the 54 employees, said in a statement it anticipated more cuts from the struggling newspaper chain and will challenge the layoffs. The union will contact members about their legal strategy.

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

Unifor Local 2000 president Brian Gibson said in a statement they’ve received no explanation why five Postmedia executives received bonuses totalling $2.275 million last year, while employees are being laid off.

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Postmedia’s president and CEO Paul Godfrey, who was awarded $900,000, has previously defended the retention bonuses for giving investors faith that a strong team will remain to lead the company’s debt restructuring plan.

Since the bonuses were announced, two of the five executives have left Postmedia.

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