NUJ welcomes publication of Reach full year results

  • 07 Mar 2023

The publisher of titles including The Mirror, Express, Liverpool Echo and Irish Star, has published full year results detailing total revenue of £600m in 2022.

Efficiency measures and cost-cutting referenced in the annual statement are presented against a backdrop of total operating profits of £106m.

Chris Morley, NUJ Reach national coordinator, said:

“It is clearly concerning for Reach employees that the threat of further cost-cutting has not receded despite more than 80 editorial roles already having been cut since the start of this year.

“In January, the company said it was targeting £30 million cost reductions and today’s announcements around the full year figures suggest this is still what is being pursued to chase the faltering operating profits. The vastly expanded editorial footprint of the business in recent years – which now will also include 100 journalists based in the US – is already very thinly spread with consequent pressure on journalists to continue to fill all the gaps.

“There is still a huge thirst from the public for quality news and fundamentally it will be talented and experienced journalists who will deliver it – not artificially generated content that is currently being experimented on. It is vital therefore for Reach to maintain morale by maximising the number of journalists it employs through these hard times - and by making sure that it continues to make only reasonable demands over workload burden and intensity of work.

“And while there are currently undeniable difficulties in the advertising market and rising costs, that does not mean that Reach can ignore the impact that runaway inflation is having on its staff. The hurt from rising prices is felt even keener among our members, not least because so many are working from home and suffering soaring domestic energy and housing costs, combined with massive rising prices for food and other essentials.

“If Reach wants to keep its journalistic talent, it must expect to properly protect and reward them through these economic difficulties.

“We note that shareholders will pick up £14 million in an increased final dividend, making a total of £22 million paid out for the year. Employees must not be forgotten in the fair and equitable distribution of wealth being generated by the company.”

Laura Davison, NUJ senior organiser, said:

“Journalists on the company’s national titles will be quick to spot that the final instalment of money owed to Richard Desmond for acquisition of the Express has now been paid.

“Hacking costs remain an issue and pension obligations have to be met. But with company operating profit margins still at over 17% and shareholders benefiting to the tune of over £20million, editorial staff who have seen colleagues leave in the recent cuts and are being required to do more than ever, will expect meaningful and fair dealing when it comes to journalist’s pay for 2023.”

In January, Reach announced plans to make redundancies as part of efforts to save £30m in costs. The NUJ Reach Group chapel voiced its dismay at proposals introduced against a backdrop of recent job cuts last year.

The union has submitted a 2023 pay claim to Reach and is awaiting confirmation on when the company will begin discussions. 

Read the full report.

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