Reach journalists call for company bosses to reinvest their excessive pay deals to fund a fair wage for staff
They tell the company’s chief executive and chief financial officer to use their £7m pay packages towards a fair pay deal for staff.
The group chapel passed a motion calling on “Jim Mullen and Simon Fuller to reinvest their pay package excesses to help fund a fair pay rise for 2022 for the editorial workforce. In 2021, the chief executive’s pay package was worth 104 median paid Reach workers – one of the worst examples of inequality in the FTSE index”.
They said the executives should follow the example of John Ridding, chief executive of the Financial Times, who agreed to take a pay cut following a staff revolt in 2018.
The NUJ is currently balloting members at Reach to take action after rejecting a pay increase of 3 per cent/£750 minimum. The journalists who work on newspapers and associated websites including the Daily Record, Daily Star, Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Mail and Bristol Post, said the escalating cost of living crisis, fuelled by rising inflation, meant they could not afford to accept the deal offered. Last year, the company made an across-the-board award of just 1 per cent or £350 minimum.
The motion said:
This group chapel notes that Jim Mullen and Simon Fuller received pay packages (as published in the 2021 Annual Report) totalling more than £7 million at a time when the company said it could only afford a 1 per cent increase for the staff – a fact that has infuriated many Reach employees.
Both senior executives were handed such huge bonus rewards in recognition of the business hitting company operating profit targets, digital revenue and customer registrations - yet these were also delivered by the hard work and diligence of Reach employees. However, having attained these bonuses, Reach plc’s share price has since crashed by more than 70% this year, leading our members to conclude that a significantly below inflation offer of 3% this year, when RPI is double digits, is making them pay the cost of the board’s failure.
With the publication of Reach plc’s half year results last week, we note shareholders have been respected with a 4.7% increase in their first dividend instalment of the year. This is a pay-out worth £14m alone.
But the directors’ complacent and indifferent attitude to the employees - who create the revenue and profits of the business – and who are suffering the worst cost of living crisis in 40 years, is not sustainable.
If Reach is to succeed, a radical reset is needed, ensuring that our members are treated fairly as important stakeholders alongside shareholders, customers and pensioners.
This group chapel calls on Jim Mullen and Simon Fuller to reinvest their pay package excesses to help fund a fair pay rise for 2022 for the editorial workforce. In 2021, the chief executive’s pay package was worth 104 median paid Reach workers – one of the worst examples of inequality in the FTSE index. We urge the company to ensure that this unacceptable contrast - brought about by repeated poor annual staff pay rises and out of touch executive bonus criteria – is never repeated.
Without positive change, this group chapel resolves to ensure investors, readers, and opinion formers, including politicians, are made fully aware of these flaws in the corporate operation of Reach plc, in contrast to much of the sentiment of the editorial content of its titles and public profile and reputation.
The Reach NUJ Group Chapel said:
“This motion was passed unanimously and encapsulates our members’ feeling on the unreasonable largesse that is dished out to senior executives, yet when it comes to waiting in line for decent reward for the really hard work they do and value to the company, our members come last.
“Both Jim and Simon should consider what was done by the boss at the Financial Times in recent times, where excess reward was voluntarily given back and used far more productively within the business. This would seem entirely reasonable given the turnaround in the share price under their leadership which is undermining the business and impacting on shareholders. We look forward to seeing the savings on the balance sheet from this going into the areas where it is most needed.”