Nfld. & Labrador

SaltWire cuts 25 employees loose from N.L. newspapers, as temporary layoffs become permanent

On Tuesday, the Atlantic Canadian newspaper chain let 109 former staff members know they had no job to return to after the pandemic.

Employees were told in March they were being temporarily laid off

The Telegram is among the papers in Atlantic Canada that saw its workforce slashed during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Cecil Haire/CBC)

Fears in the news industry proved correct on Tuesday, as SaltWire told 25 employees at Newfoundland and Labrador papers that their temporary layoffs were in fact permanent.

Altogether, the Atlantic Canadian newspaper chain let go of 109 employees at papers in the four Atlantic provinces.

SaltWire owns the majority of papers in Newfoundland and Labrador, including the Telegram and the Western Star.

"SaltWire, like hundreds of media outlets in North America, has witnessed the devastating impact of COVID-19 on advertising sales with ad cancellations costing millions to date without expected improvement in the coming months," reads a statement from chief operation officer Ian Scott.

Scott said some of those on temporary layoffs will still be brought back, but for the 109 notified on Tuesday, their positions are terminated.

The company laid off 40 per cent of its workforce on March 24, anticipating major losses in revenue due to the pandemic.

"The staff notified today have contributed to SaltWire's mission to provoke thought and action for the betterment of our communities in innumerable ways and they will be greatly missed," Scott wrote. "We thank them for their dedicated service and are committed to supporting them as they embark on their job searches."

The company says it will continue to pay health benefits for those laid off, and will also pay out severance to those with more years of service.

SaltWire purchased its papers in 2017 from Quebec-based Transcontinental Media, bringing most of the daily newspapers in Atlantic Canada under one brand.

The company later sued Transcontinental Media, stating that it had overstated its value and hid relevant information when conducting the sale.

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