Staff at a regional daily newspaper in the North West are being given an effective pay cut of 7pc in a dramatic bid to cut costs without axing jobs.
Journalists and other staff at the Oldham Evening Chronicle were told this week they would have to take a week of unpaid leave between 1 December and 31 March, 2013.
The move, which amounts to a temporary cut in wages of around 7pc over the four-month period, was outlined in letters sent to all employees of the family-owned title on Monday.
Bosses at the 158-year-old newspaper have opted for the move as an alternative to job cuts, with editor Dave Whaley saying this is no longer an option if the title is to remain a daily.
Dave told HTFP: “This is the last thing that a family firm with 158 years in the business wants to do, but cutting jobs is not an option for producing a five nights a week paper.”
The Chronicle has recently raised its cover price by 5p to 60p in a further bid to offset the need for job losses.
According to the most recent ABC figures, its circulation fell 11.1pc in the period January to June 2012 compared to the previous year. It now sells an average 12,849 copies a night.
The newspaper is owned by local publishers Hirst, Kidd and Rennie Ltd and has been in the Hirst family since the 1850s.