Staff the losers in Johnston Press writedown
29 March 2017
Johnston Press, publisher of the national i, and 200 regional publications, including the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, has announced a £300m pre-tax loss in 2016 and a writedown of its titles.
The NUJ said journalists on the ground are bearing the brunt of continuing budget cuts while questioning the strategy of the newspaper group's chief executive officer Ashley Highfield. He cited falling advertising following Brexit for the loss of revenues, which dropped by 8 per cent to £222.7m last year. The company’s net debt increased from £179m to £203.9m last year.
The company said it had saved 26m in 2016 and a total of 100m since 2012.
The union said it appeared more difficult to assess the accounts as directors' remuneration - £1.2m - was lumped together in the overall figure for staff costs, but that it appeared long term share incentive plans were costing more. Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:
"Journalists at Johnston Press remain unconvinced by the company's strategy. It's them who are continuing to bear the brunt of the cost-cutting programme which has resulted in £100 million taken out since 2012. That translates into the lost jobs of colleagues, increased work for those who have stayed and most recently an unwelcome pay freeze.
"Meanwhile as staff costs are falling, the company has maintained unrealistic profit margins and its payments under long-term share 'incentive' plans at the top are rising."