Latest figures show that Newsquest, Britain's third biggest regional newspaper group - owned by US giant Gannett Inc - made £58 million operating profits and lavished its chief executive Paul Davidson with a salary of £612,000 and hundreds of thousands of pounds' worth of "performance" cash and shares. Meanwhile, parent company boss Gracia Martore said she would be presenting American shareholders with a $1.3 billion giveaway bonanza over the next two years. Yet in the UK, Newsquest's staff are being forced to endure the fourth year (of the last five) of flat-lining salaries, while at the same time being told to accept unpaid leave, hundreds of job cuts and office closures.
Pay is now so desperate, news editors have paid out of their own pockets to enable reporters with no money to fuel their cars to cover the story - and a senior reporter with two children is now paying half her pay in nursery fees just to keep her job. Newsquest staff and their families should not subsidise wealthy US shareholders and obscene, undeserved payments to executives which serve to undermine quality journalism in their UK titles.
We demand that Newsquest immediately breaks its salary freeze and enters into full negotiations with staff representatives to start to tackle financial hardship among its employees.