Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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PRH to face Fair Work over ‘adverse treatment’

Penguin Random House Australia (PRH) will face a hearing at the Fair Work Commission after refusing to withdraw a ‘first and final warning’ to an editor who tweeted in support of booksellers as they faced possible cuts to penalty rates on 1 July.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) announced on 29 July that it would be challenging PRH’s first and final warning to editor Bethany Patch in the Fair Work Commission on 3 September. Patch will be represented by an industrial officer from MEAA, while PRH will be represented by a partner from commercial law firm Piper Alderman.

Adam Portelli, MEAA’s regional director for Victoria and Tasmania, said: ‘We are encouraged by the amazing show of support for Beth over recent weeks. Over 2500 people signed on to a petition calling on Penguin Random House to reverse their decision, and there have been countless messages of support from both within the industry—including editors, authors and booksellers—and from members of the general public. People are angry about what happened to Beth, and don’t want to see it happen to anybody else. MEAA will continue fighting for a just outcome for Beth. We will always defend members against adverse treatment, especially against the backdrop of a workplace that has only recently unionised in what is still a predominantly non-union industry.’

PRH declined to comment.


Category: Local news