TORONTO (Reuters) - The entire staff at Canada'sNational Post has been offered voluntary layoffs and givenuntil Friday to accept or reject the buyout offer, thenewspaper's parent company said on Tuesday.
The National Post is owned by Postmedia Network, which paidaround C$1.1 billion ($1.1 billion) for the newspaper andonline publishing assets of Canwest Global Communications after the media group filed for bankruptcy protectionin the face of a crippling debt load this year.
"It's a decision at the local level, so National Postmanagement developed a voluntary buyout program for theiroperation," said Phyllise Gelfand, Postmedia's director ofcommunications.
Postmedia employs between 5,000 and 6,000 people across itstitles, Gelfand said, declining to say how many of those are atthe National Post. The company's other operations include theMontreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and Vancouver Sun.
The move follows similar cost-cutting measures in some ofPostmedia's regional newspapers, the Globe and Mail reported onSept. 3.
Journalists at the flagship National Post were offeredthree weeks pay for each year of service, a source at thenewspaper said, adding that an internal memo was sent lastweek.
National Post publisher Doug Kelly was not immediatelyavailable for comment.
"We often do voluntary buyout programs as a means ofreducing costs," said Doug Lamb, Postmedia's chief financialofficer. "We're doing that in a number of locations rightnow."
The stable of titles Postmedia bought from Canwest alsoincludes the Vancouver Province, Calgary Herald and EdmontonJournal.
Cable TV company Shaw Communications paid C$2billion for Canwest's broadcast operations during itsoffloading of assets.
($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; editing by Rob Wilson)