28 January 2015

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Daily newspaper staff given 7pc cut in pay

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.



  1. Spanner

    Weekly is only option – it will come.

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  2. DAVE

    I can’t see how this is 7pc… but then I am a journalist not an accountant.

    That’s almost 10 per cent – a tenth of your annual salary for just a week off?

    How so?

    (Not nit-picking, just trying to understand!) Thanks

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  3. LOL

    Is it me and my maths?

    But isn’t a week off unpaid 1/52 which is 1.92 per cent?

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  4. Terry Collmann, London

    Is that actually legal?

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  5. Sub be good to me

    How is the figure of 7% arrived at?
    A week of unpaid leave sounds like just under 2% to me.

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  6. DAVE

    Pur-leeze explain the maths! 5 working days out of a year surely can’t be 7%?

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  7. Ken Jackson, sTAFFORDSHIRE

    As a mainstream journalist for more than 40 years I think this move should be commended. It’s clear that the good days have gone for a while and we should all do whatever we can……what should happen now is for all the local commercial radio stations to have restrictions placed upon them in terms of which ads they can take!!! We must be vigilant about preserrving our local press (giveaways by amateurs are not the answer) The ‘locals’ safeguard the future for communities and prevent the unwnorthy getting away with things. I speak as a locakl and regional specialist given life membership of the NUJ in 1998 for services to the industry and the union! Regards, Ken Jackson

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  8. GladImOutOfIt

    If it’s not legal, Newsquest would be facing a huge legal bill right now. They pioneered the unpaid leave trick – for the hacks, not the bosses, natch

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  9. Brian

    Seize the initiative and go weekly NOW

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  10. Hammer time

    Why the story? Nothing new here. Been going on for at least two years elsewhere.

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  11. tide-timez

    So KJ believes local commercial radio stations should have restrictions placed upon them in terms of which ads they can take. To which I say: barman, can I have what he’s having?

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  12. onlooker

    They did something similar at the Argus, Brighton, and then cut jobs anyway!

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  13. grey haired hack

    The maths doesn’t appear to work out. Broadly speaking there are 250 working days in a year – one per cent is 2.5 days. Multiply that by seven and you have 17.5 days. To be asked to take five days unpaid leave is getting off lightly by the sound of it. In reality, there are probably several ways of slicing this equation with each offering a different answer!
    My business model would be to cut the daily publishing to twice weekly and hope to consolidate readership that way. It seems to have worked well elsewhere.

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  14. Rob

    Not like a journalist to fail on numbers. Seven per cent cut would be just over 17 days off (assuming jounalist work five days a week and not seven).

    Seven days off is actually closer to a cut of 2.75%. But if you add inflation in you can round that up to 5.5 per cent real term cut. Plus unpaid overtime and you’re looking at at least 7per cent.

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  15. DAVE

    Or approx 25% of your monthly salary!

    Probably best quoted as part of an annual salary picture really.
    Who works in 13-week periods?

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  16. ivylikes, Hants

    That’s 7% over four months not a year. Ergo, about 2.3 per cent annual.
    Is that right?

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  17. Dave White

    Is going weekly really the answer? If it’s been a success elsewhere, surely one of the prime reasons must be the concomitant cut in overheads — and that means fewer journalists’ jobs. Be careful; for what you wish for.

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  18. Paul Linford, HTFP

    @ivylikes, yes that’s correct: 7pc over a four-month period = 2.33pc a year.

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  19. Dave White

    And be careful what you type. Sorry about that mangled last sentence.

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