Ming Pao group said on Thursday that it will enter into dialogue with its staff union before any decisions in future that involve significant cuts in resources or manpower at the newspaper group.
The assurance came following a meeting between the management and union representatives to discuss recent layoffs at Ming Pao Daily, including the controversial sacking of a top editor, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Keung Kwok-yuen, Ming Pao’s former executive chief editor, was let go, along with several other employees, on April 20 in a sudden and surprise move.
The group said the layoffs were necessary as it needed to cut costs due to a difficult operating environment.
But employees suspected that Keung was a “victim of reprisal” due to his editorial decisions, and demanded that the paper reconsider its move.
On Thursday, Ming Pao said it understands employees’ concerns and admitted that it should have handled the sackings better.
But it said that it will not take back its decision on Keung and other dismissed employees.
However, to provide some comfort to the staff association, the newspaper group promised that there will be no more staff cuts in the current fiscal year that ends in March 2017.
It also stressed that there will be no change in its editorial policy.
The group said that it has appointed Leung Heung-nam, who had been an assistant executive editor at Ming Pao, to the post of acting executive chief editor, in line with the suggestion put forward by the paper’s journalists.
Leung, 58, is believed to enjoy the trust of the paper’s employees as well as management.
Phyllis Tsang, who chairs the staff union, told reporters that the union is still unhappy with Keung’s dismissal.
But she agreed that the management did show some goodwill in trying to address the employee concerns.
The union will hold an internal meeting Friday to discuss its next move.
Tsang noted that Ming Pao’s chief editor Chong Tien-siong, who ordered the sacking of Keung, expressed regret and offered apology during the meeting Thursday over the handling of the incident.
In a response, Keung was quoted as saying that the apology was not acceptable to him as it seemed perfunctory and lacking in sincerity.
Chong has failed to reveal the real reason behind the rude dismissal, Ming Pao quoted him as saying.
- Contact us at [email protected]