Friday 13 May 2011

NUJ letter to Trinity shareholders bashes Bailey

This is the text of an NUJ letter given out to Trinity Mirror shareholders attending yesterday's AGM.

Dear Shareholder,

In 2004, Trinity Mirror had a turnover of £1.14 billion, operating profits of £243 million and more than 11,100 staff.

But the 2010 Annual Report reveals turnover is now down 16 per cent from that period to just £761 million, operating profits have been slashed 66 per cent to only £86 million andthe total number of group employees has been cut by nearly half.

Although the share price reached a year high of £6.65 in 2004, shareholders have seen it wither to about 50p today. And, of course recently, dividends have not been paid.

In the last five years, while Trinity’s shares have lost 80 per cent of their value, those in the FTSE 250 index have risen about 55 per cent.

The reason the NUJ asks you to go back to 2004 is because that was the first full year of Sly Bailey’s tenure at the head of Trinity Mirror. And particularly, it is because despite presiding over a vastly shrunken business, Sly’s own financial interests have not suffered.

She has handsomely negotiated the downturn with a base salary that has risen 36 per cent in the last six years from £550,000 to £750,000 and overall, Sly’s total remuneration package has swollen from £1.23 million to a huge £1.71 million now.

The NUJ is not against successful managers who sensibly expand their business and use their skills wisely to create the wealth to better shareholders and staff. We think that if they do this, they can justify decent pay packages. But we ask: Given the above record, can Sly and her directors really justify their burgeoning incomes?

Now Trinity’s board says it is lining up £10 million “structural” cost savings this year which will cost £10 million to implement. The NUJ believes after years of cuts the morale of staff is on the floor and the jobs massacre must stop.

The company has stabilised its financial position and appears to have debt under control, so if Trinity is to be successful in the future it needs to start the investment in the talents of its staff today.

Trinity Mirror’s future success depends on its staff who have performed impressively in the face of falling living standards and job cuts. But it is clear that when excessive boardroom pay is pitchedagainst poor staff rewards, the collective drive within the company with be damaged.We can help put a brake on that with your help. Please join with us in highlighting these issues with management today.

National Union of Journalists

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