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Management failure highlighted at Trinity Mirror AGM

NUJ activists outside Trinity Mirror AGM

NUJ activists outside Trinity Mirror AGM  -  © Private

11 May 2011

NUJ members attended the Trinity Mirror group annual shareholders' meeting in Canary Wharf to highlight management failures. The union is seeking explanations from the company's top management about why the group's workforce has been halved since 2004 and operating profits have been cut by 66 per cent.

Martin Shipton, chair of Trinity Mirror Group Chapel, said after the meeting:

"The board was given the opportunity to make a landmark decision by reacting positively to the recommendations of the Will Hutton report and agree to publish voluntarily the ratio between the chief executive salary and the earnings of the average employee, but unfortunately they failed to take up that invitation from the NUJ.
"The board also refused to give the green light to another recommendation in the Hutton report that suggests an employee representative should be elected to the director's remuneration committee. The NUJ fears that without these constraints the same old board room greed that has characterised newspaper management over years will continue unabated."

An NUJ open letter was distributed to shareholders at the meeting in the Hilton London, saying that Trinity Mirror's future success depends on its staff who have performed impressively in the face of falling living standards and job cuts. However, letter says:

… it is clear that when excessive boardroom pay is pitched against poor staff rewards, the collective drive within the company will be damaged.

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.

Tags: , trinity mirror, newspapers, shareholders, executive pay, cuts, local newspapers, regional newspapers