Friday 12 November 2010

Newsquest accused of 'corporate arrogance'

Press Gazette's Media Money columnist Peter Kirwan is scathing about Newsquest's decision to close its pension fund.

He writes: "So far, Newsquest has utterly failed to make a convincing case for closing its pension fund. At his offices in suburban Surrey, Paul Davidson [Newsquest chief executive] continues to ignore phone calls from journalists, like ourselves, who remain curious about his proposals.

"All that remains visible is unalloyed corporate arrogance. The scale of that arrogance became breathtakingly clear in the final par of Paul Davidson’s letter to staff this summer, which contained the time-honoured suggestion that “we cannot ignore the business environment”.

"Oddly, this seems to be precisely what Gannett has done when it comes to Paul Davidson’s own salary, which increased by 21.5% in real terms to £609,385 last year. More pointedly, the pension contributions made by the company on Davidson’s behalf rose from £38,536 to £94,986.

Peter concludes with a wider point: "The real scandal is the fraudulent state of British pensions law, which allows highly profitable companies like Newsquest to make damaging decisions about the long-term welfare of poorly-paid employees in the knowledge that they will never be held to account."

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