There was more bad news for regional newspaper journalists today with another of the big four newspaper publishers imposing a pay freeze. Johnston Press is following Newsquest and Trinity Mirror in telling journalists there will be no pay rise in the New Year.
The NUJ immediately accused Johnston Press of acting in "bad faith" and claimed it was reneging on two and three year pay deals already agreed. It described the mood of Johnston journalists as "angry".
HoldtheFrontPage, part owned by Johnston Press, reports today: "The company said that, as a result of the continued severe downturn in advertising markets, 2009 basic salary reviews will be deferred for a period of six months for all employees. Journalists at JP titles were told of the move in a company memo circulated this morning."
Chief executive Tim Bowdler is quoted as saying: "Regrettably, in the light of falling revenues and continued uncertainty, this decision is necessary to help safeguard the future of our companies. In six months' time, we hope our operating companies will be in a better position to determine the impact of the recession and to decide whether or not a salary increase can be afforded."
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: "Our members simply don’t accept that they have to pay the price for corporate failure. It’s incomprehensible that a company which made operating profits of over £178 million last year can’t now afford to keep promises to its staff. The bad faith being shown by the company is unbelievable.
"We’ll be consulting our members about how they want to respond to the announcement, but anger is already running high so the prospect of action can’t be ruled out."