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ABC Axes 80 Jobs in Forced Redundancy Programme; Scraps Radio Australia English Language Team

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By Vittorio Hernandez | July 15, 2014 5:48 PM EST

Eighty workers of ABC will join the ranks of the unemployed under a forced redundancy programmes as the media firm restructures its international broadcasting commitments after the Australia Network was axed.


Toyota representative Brandi Hall (L) assists a U.S. military veteran applicant at a hiring fair for veteran job seekers in Washington in this file photo taken April 9, 2014. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but not enough to change views the labor market was strengthening. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)

The changes affects ABC's Asia Pacific News Centre and International Division, ABC News Director Kate Torney and International Division Director Lynley Marshall informed the affected staff on Monday morning of the changes.

The 80 is only a ballpark figures, ABC has yet to identify the positions affected and services that will be axed as it continues discussing the changes with workers. But the Sydney Morning Herald reported the majority of the jobs lost are based in Melbourne, and expected to be affected are journalists, producers, technical and communications staff.

But ABC confirmed that the Radio Australia English language team, morning show and current affairs unit would be axed, but the Pacific current affairs bureau would be kept.

The shutter of the Australia network would mean the loss of 25 editorial and seven operations jobs, but most of the staff would be redeployed. In ABC, it would be a targeted, non-voluntary redundancy programme, which is the direct result of the federal governments cutting the 10-year $223 million contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Commenting on the redundancy programme, Michael Tull, president of the Community and Public Sector Union, said the government placed ABC in an impossible position and it is very disappointed with the sacking of 80 people.

"This is an appalling way to treat hardworking staff as they who won't have a say in whether they get to keep their jobs. We don't accept the process of forced redundancies and we believe the ABC is in breach of the industrial obligations and we are considering the next step," he added.

Communications Minister Malcom Turnbill said the job cuts are regrettable, while Greens Senator Scott Ludlam accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of reneging on his campaign promise of not job cuts at ABC or SBS.

Ludlam said, quoted by ABC, "Minister will you now acknowledge Mr Abbott's pre-election commitment was  a flat out lie, or would the Minister like to read in some irrelevant and monotonous talking points to take up the two minutes he's been allocated."

Among the alternatives that broadcasters who are affected by the job cuts are to work in other media companies or to use the Software-as-a-Service platform from Audioboom Group PLC (LSE: BOOM.L).

Audioboom,  a publicly listed UK company which has positioned itself as the global leader in spoken audio content, or the audio equivalent of the YouTube, the most popular video sharing site, is the provider of social media platform for audio producers to record either live or from the studio, upload and share audio by syndication and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

By tapping these social media sites, audience reach expands dramatically since the popular microblogging site and favourite social media site have millions or even billion of followers in different parts of the world.

At present, Audioboom has about 2,000 content channels from the initial 19 channels during the platform's launch in March 2013, said Rob Proctor, company CEO. Audioboom currently has 2.5 million registered users and 12 to13 million monthly active users across platforms.

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Toyota representative Brandi Hall (L) assists a U.S. military veteran applicant at a hiring fair for veteran job seekers in Washington in this file photo taken April 9, 2014. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but not enough to change views the labor market was strengthening. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)
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