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Media Company Overpays Staff

news
August 19 2019

By Nicholas Hartman

West Australian Newspapers, the publisher of The West, one of WA’s three newspapers, paid more in redundancy entitlements than it planned to, adding an extra three months of pay to the packages made when voluntary redundancies were offered.

West Australian Newspapers, owned by Seven West Media, made a two- to three-month transition period to some of its staff and accidently noted it down as an entitlement.

The Australian reports that during a round of staff cuts at West Australian Newspapers, 38 staff left the company. 34 of the 38 staff who left took the voluntary redundancy offered, and The Australian reports that insiders in the company believe the mistake led to a “larger-than-expected” uptake of voluntary redundancies in the latest round of staff cuts.

News of the overpayment comes as the newspaper and the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance union are negotiating a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Intriguingly, The Australian reports that both parties currently have differences of opinion about staff redundancy entitlements.

The newspaper’s offer includes a proposal to cut redundancy entitlements from 40 weeks to a maximum of 26 weeks, and 1% pay rise. This offer was “overwhelmingly” rejected by staff.

New staff, joining after the agreement and implementation of a new EBA, would only be entitled to the 12 weeks maximum redundancy entitlement that all workers are entitled to under the National Employment Standards.