20 Days Remaining

Saturday 2nd
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

REGIONAL newspaper boss Henry Faure Walker is pocketing more than £1 million in pay and perks while planning to axe scores of journalists in time for Christmas.

The Newsquest chief executive has been awarded the bumper pay package while hard-up journalists on his regional titles face redundancies.

The journalists who get to keep their jobs have been told there will be cuts in meagre overtime and anti-social hours pay including payments for working bank holidays and weekends.

And the Newsquest November cull has become such a regular feature that it has been given its own festive hashtag of #Scroogequest.

A year of job losses, title closures and cuts have already taken their toll on staff, according to a group-wide stress survey by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The union’s chapel called the cuts “relentless and pitiless,” warning that they are “potentially hazardous to health, both physically and mentally.”

Newsquest NUJ group co-ordinator Chris Morley said: “Newsquest is addicted to cuts in a way that gamblers are to fixed-odds betting machines. This is no strategy for the short term, never mind the long term.

“Savage cuts have not worked in the past 10 years, so why do they think it will turn the company’s fortunes around now? We strongly urge senior management to take matters in hand.”

He said: “Give long-suffering staff the break they so desperately need and reverse the strategy into one of investment.

“With no debt, the company can clearly afford this, but what it can’t afford is a broken and demoralised workforce that is driven into the ground.”

Newsquest, which is part of US conglomerate Gannett, publishes 165 regional newspapers and 40 magazines both online and in print.