Foxtel has made 200 employees redundant and will stand down another 140 staff members until the end of June.
It will also shutdown over Easter for non-essential staff and further staff have been directed to reduced hours.
Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany wrote to staff this afternoon as the Pay TV operator responds to the COVID-19 impact.
Good afternoon everyone,
You all know how hard we have been working over the past two years to transform our product and finances in the face of digital disruption.
Now, with the impact of government COVID-19 restrictions on our business, we have had no choice but to accelerate that transformation.
The actions we have had to take this week make it one of the toughest in Foxtel’s history, having stood down 140 of our team until 30 June who have had COVID-19 related work stoppages and made another 200 people redundant.
Acting Now to Remain Strong
Restructuring and changing the way the company works is not an easy thing to do at any time. But with the impact of COVID-19, the only option is to act now to ensure we ride out the current situation and remain strong to compete with local and global media companies.
These changes are even more difficult when we are not in the building together to speak to people face to face. I apologise to those impacted that the restrictions have meant your leaders have had to talk to you by video or by phone.
Australia has experienced tough times before. Most recently that was during the global financial crisis in 2009. We know that in tough times Foxtel becomes a great source of comfort to people at home who want to be informed and entertained. Right now, with Australians isolating themselves at home, our customers need us more than ever.
The government COVID-19 restrictions are however seeing major challenges for us including the broadcast and streaming of live sport. And looking ahead, the economic outlook for Australia is deteriorating and our continued transformation will become even more important.
As you know, we have already stopped all non-essential expenditure; stopped hiring; released all casuals, contractors and freelancers in non-critical roles and announced a shut down over Easter for everyone who is not essential to maintaining our service to customers.
Key Points of Today’s Announcement
· Leaders have spoken to those who are impacted one on one to provide details about their situation.
· Stand downs – in addition to support measures to use accrued leave and draw on leave in advance, we will be paying all stood down employees two additional weeks pay. The rules for the government’s Job Keeper scheme do not allow Foxtel to apply at present, however stood down employees may be eligible for payments under the Job Seeker scheme.
· All employees made redundant will receive their full entitlements.
· We have asked a further group of people to continue in their roles but with reduced hours.
· Where possible, we have found people jobs through redeployment; however, in these circumstances the opportunities have been limited.
· We have EAP available as a free service for all of you by phone and by video. Outplacement support will be available to impacted people within the next 24 hours and if you need to talk to someone, please reach out to your leader or HR business partner.
Delivering customers the best of Foxtel
We still have a core business to run so we continue to deliver a great entertainment experience to our customers.
What the team at Fox Sports have all done to reinvent our programming so our customers stick with us, has been extraordinary. And the ratings tell us customers are engaged with our classic matches, documentaries, pop up channels and live shows, and value what we are producing.
However, we need to be prepared for a scenario in sport where season starts are delayed further. It is clear all codes are struggling with significant financial challenges and we should anticipate that the future shape of sport in Australia will be very different.
On the entertainment side, the work we have done to give our customers more content and ensure our programming captures their imagination has been just as extraordinary. The strong ratings highlight how valuable our customers are finding this as they spend more time at home.
Resetting for the Future
Please use the Easter period to refresh and focus on your health – by maintaining social distancing and staying at home where possible.
Looking ahead, we will keep you all informed with regular updates, whether you are at work or stood down. Our senior leaders will also run team meetings with all of you to answer questions and focus on immediate priorities.
And remember: if you need to talk to someone, please talk to your leader or me. We also have EAP available as a free service for all of you on (deleted).
Foxtel remains a great Australian company and a part of life for millions of Australians. Our service has never been more important as people spend an extended period at home. To be there for them, as difficult as it is, we must continue to transform Foxtel and ensure we come out the other side even more important than we are now.
Foxtel is the latest broadcaster to address costs and staffing as a result of COVID-19, following Seven staff pay cuts and a temporary shutdown by 10 staff.