Union urges Trinity Mirror AGM to champion fairness at work & quality journalism
5 May 2016
NUJ representatives will be attending and participating in the Trinity Mirror AGM on Thursday 5 May in London, to speak out on behalf of the hundreds of NUJ members working for the company.
The union has been attending this annual event for the last decade and continues to seek positive engagement with the company. The union has produced a letter to give out to shareholders on the day which raises the following issues:
Fair pay: Chief executive Simon Fox last year amassed a combined pay packet of £2.35 million (£1,130 for every working hour). This is some 100 times the gross pay of a typical Trinity Mirror regional journalist. The union wants the company to pay at least the Living Wage Foundation rate of £9.40 for all journalistic jobs and the pay rates should be based on the real hours worked rather than simply hours of work specified in contracts of employment.
Quality journalism: NUJ members are increasingly concerned at the quality of the content of the company’s newspapers and websites. The union is also concerned by the increasingly blurred lines between editorial and commercial content with a focus on digital “click” success. The union has welcomed the withdrawal of individual click targets for staff but remains concerned by the continued cuts to editorial resources and the cuts to photography.
Connecting with communities: The continuing cuts at Trinity Mirror have resulted in fears that readers are noticing the loss of quality and are turning away from the company’s printed products. The union is extremely concerned that the cuts strategy is putting titles’ long-term sustainability under threat. Continuing cuts to titles, including Local World, undermine Trinity Mirror as a whole and the union is urging shareholders to support investment in local journalism so that it is truly connected to the communities it serves.
Chris Morley, NUJ national coordinator for Trinity Mirror, said:
"Our members have clear concerns that they have said they want directors and shareholders of the company to hear loud and clear.
"The days of ridiculous, totally unaccountable boardroom greed have gone but the largesse going into the directors’ pockets is still huge while the pay of Trinity Mirror’s journalists stagnates. What our members are concerned about is that their pay bears some reasonable relationship to that of the chief executive and his board. At the moment it certainly does not.
"Shareholders will be voting on the pay package that brought a £2.3 million pay day for Simon Fox but we want them to think whether it is right that this was a hundred times that of a typical journalist in the group – despite the vast increase in productivity due to swingeing job cuts in recent years.
"Real concern is also being voiced by members over the direction of travel for their journalism when confronted daily by digital demands and strong commercial pressure. We want to hear genuine reassurances that editorial integrity and standards and public interest journalism will not be compromised in the pursuit of high profit margins."
The NUJ wants Trinity Mirror to succeed as a business that champions fairness for staff and quality journalism - as the UK’s largest local and regional news publisher - it should lead the way.