In anticipation of the end of an era at Coops de l’information, specifically the publication of the last weekly print editions on December 30, 125 workers, representing approximately one third of the workforce, have joined the voluntary departures program launched place this summer, General Director Geneviève Rossier announced on Wednesday.
In an interview with duty, underlines that “the evolution of this program has still gone very well with respect to the people who have worked, in several cases, all their lives for the Information Cooperatives”. The latter include The right in Ottawa-Gatineau, The Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivières, The newspaper in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, The sun in Quebec, the gallery in Sherbrooke, The Voice of the East in Granby and The Aces of Infoa website dedicated to young people.
In anticipation of the group’s fully digital change, a tour was held in 2022 to inform employees of the possible implementation of a program of voluntary departures, says M.me Rossier. This, which allows workers to leave in exchange for financial compensation, was then negotiated with the United Union of the Regional Written Press, which brings together the unions of the Information Cooperative.
Most of the positions abolished within the media group are those linked to the production of paper editions, Geneviève Rossier points out.
“The fact that we stop producing paper means that we also reduce, for example, support or financing staff, because if there are fewer employees, we have less need for people to process payrolls and all that. We are also reducing the number of managers and some journalists are leaving. »
A “more humane” process.
For his part, the president of the workers’ union Ground, the journalist Ian Bussières, is relieved that there have been no redundancies as a result of the digital change. “What I wanted to avoid at all costs is that there were layoffs, that there were people who left without wanting to. The fact that people give their names, humanely, for them, is certainly more acceptable”, says the man who also sits on the United Union of the regional written press.
Such agreements that allow employees to leave a company in exchange for financial compensation are “the least painful way to make cuts,” says Colette Brin, a professor of journalism at Université de Laval. “Often, these are people who are at the end of their career or who are ready to make a career change. They are really people who have time to think about it and then prepare for it. »
However, the director of the Media Studies Center points out that these programs cause companies to let go workers with “a lot of talent, memory and skill”. “So it’s still a loss,” he said.
In general, the reduction in the number of journalists is never good news, as is the disappearance of certain media, says Mr. Bussières The latter specifies that if the trade union agreed to be involved in the establishment of the program of voluntary departures, “it is above all to allow the Information Cooperatives to survive and continue to inform the people”.
The end of an era
As for the end of the weekly printed editions, this was already planned in the 2020 business plan, explains Geneviève Rossier. “Our local media are firmly established in their region, but as around the world, our audience is increasingly looking to our content on the web and in our apps. »
In 2024, readers looking for local news from different regions of Quebec will be able to continue to obtain information through the group’s digital platforms.
By the end of March 2020, the six newspapers of the Coops de l’information had drawn a line under their weekday paper newspapers, retaining only one weekly edition published on Saturdays. The measure, which was initially supposed to be temporary in the context of the pandemic, became permanent in the summer of 2020.
The printed editions of Business WizardHowever, they will be retained in all six markets. “This magazine is a more sustainable content. Basically, it’s about highlighting good moves, efforts, regional innovations and people who are leaders in the business community,” says M.me Rossier.
With information from Zacharie Goudreault
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