Transcon to lay off 1500

Montreal-based Transcontinental Inc. has announced major cost-cutting initiatives that include the elimination of 1500 jobs in Canada and the United States.

Transcon’s publications include magazines Style at HomeCanadian Living and The Hockey News as well as regional and local newspapers such as The Telegram in St. John’s.

Beyond layoffs, the employees remaining are being asked to “do their share.” A hiring freeze is now in affect and all spending and new projects are being reviewed. Other measures include reduced work weeks and unpaid leave.

Senior managers are taking two weeks of unpaid leave, during which time they will continue to work.

The company figures it will save about $75 million on an annualized basis with these strategies, including $50 million in 2009.

Transcontinental president and CEO François Olivier said in a statement:

“It’s a difficult situation for everyone affected, but we are acting in
the interests of all of our employees and our shareholders. In the
short term, this rationalization comes at a cost, but in the medium term it
will protect the Corporation’s financial health.”

According to a story in the Financial Post, about 500 of the jobs lost are from the company’s direct-mail business in the United States.