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Quebec’s Superior Court has authorized a plan that transforms six insolvent regional French-language newspapers across the province into employee cooperatives and reduces pensions for retirees by 30 per cent.

Justice Daniel Dumas’ ruling, issued Monday, brings to a close a months-long saga that reached Quebec’s government, which loaned the papers’ ownership group millions in interim financing in an attempt to protect about 350 news jobs.

The daily newspapers affected by the decision are Le Soleil in Quebec City, Le Droit in Ottawa-Gatineau, Le Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivieres, La Tribune in Sherbrooke, La Voix de l’Est in Granby and Le Quotidien in Saguenay.

Dumas’ ruling also blocks the ability of retirees, who had their pensions cut, from suing the new employee-owned entities.

The judge says he understands retirees will be disappointed but his decision saves what was left to be saved from the insolvent newspaper group.

Groupe Capitales Medias, which owned the six dailies, had lost $25 million in 2018, the year before it filed for bankruptcy protection.

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