Trinity Mirror asked to improve pay offer as company announces profits increase of 25 per cent.
27 February 2017
Journalists working for Trinity Mirror have welcomed company's news of a profit increase of more than 25 per cent, but say if that is the case why are they being offered below-inflation salary increases?
A statement accompanying the publisher's annual results said:
"Strong growth in adjusted operating profit of 25.5 per cent and adjusted earnings per share of 12.4 per cent driven by the benefits of the acquisition of Local World and continued tight management of the cost base with structural (including synergy) cost savings of £25 million, £10 million ahead of target. Group revenue increased by 20.3 per cent to £713.0 million, with like for like revenue falling by 8.0 per cent."
Trinity Mirror acquired Local World in a £220m deal in 2015, becoming the UK’s largest biggest regional publisher. It has since closed down a number of Local World titles and last year shelved its new daily, New Day, two months after its launch. Commenting on the annual results for 2016, Simon Fox, Trinity Mirror chief executive, said:
"We have delivered a strong financial performance in the year despite the challenging environment we face. I am particularly pleased with the progress we have made in growing our digital audience and revenue, and with the work we have done this year to develop and refine our strategic priorities for the year ahead."
But he recognised there were still difficulties, saying:
“The market for our regional titles remains difficult with declines of 15.1 per cent for paid for dailies, 17.1 per cent for paid for weeklies and 17.9 per cent for paid for Sundays. All titles are experiencing difficulty and our overall trends remain challenged in the market.”
Print advertising revenues fell by 17.9 per cent for the year to 1 January, while total revenues from its papers dropped 10.7 per cent.
The statement added that it had increased the provision for dealing with "historical legal issues", that is claims for phone hacking, by £11.5 million, "bringing the total amount provided to £52.5 million".
Last month the company announced it would be cutting 78 jobs and creating 44 new roles, including 17 video journalists.
Martin Shipton FoC of the NUJ Trinity Group chapel said:
"We note the positive tone of the chief executive's message to the city and look forward to a change of approach in pay negotiations. So far our local members have been offered below-inflation salary increases. Clearly, on the basis of Simon Fox's comments on the annual report, more can be afforded. At a time when significant further redundancies have been announced by the group, it is important to stress how only by investing in quality journalism will Trinity Mirror achieve a sustainable future."
Chris Morley, NUJ coordinator for Trinity Mirror, said:
"Clearly there is money in the coffers for serious investment in quality journalism. That means paying journalists better, not continuing to hack away at jobs and experience to the detriment of print titles and levelling up benefits for Local World colleagues. Shareholders are getting a rise in their dividend 2.5 times the current inflation rate. Our members in Local World, already feeling like second class citizens in the group, will be deeply concerned at the £15 million cuts aimed at them. Having already had £10 million slashed from Local World costs last year, this news will be extremely demoralising."