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Publisher to return around £4m in lost wages after pandemic pay cut

Michelle Stanistreet 1Approximately £4m in wages is to be paid back to a regional publisher’s employers who took a temporary pay cut during the coronavirus pandemic.

Reach plc has confirmed it will pay back staff whose salaries were reduced by 10pc between April and June last year.

The temporary move was made to counter the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak last year.

Reach staff were restored to their full wages from 1 July 2020.

A company spokeswoman said: “In April 2020, facing what was then a very unprecedented and unpredictable challenge, we took the difficult decision to reduce salaries for a three-month period.

“Having considered this in recent weeks we have decided to reimburse colleagues for the April to June 2020 pay reduction.

“The board and executive committee will not be taking any reimbursement for their pay deductions.”

The move has been welcomed by the National Union of Journalists, which opposed the cut and subsequently launched tribunal claims in relation to the cut on behalf of a number of members.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet, pictured, said: “This is great news for our members who struggled to instantly adapt to working from home at the start of the covid crisis while at the same time they were forced to endure a hefty pay cut.

“We very much welcome the decision by Reach to reimburse staff wages.

“This is a sensible and pragmatic step, and the crucial lesson from this is the importance of media businesses such as Reach talking to the NUJ through proper consultation to justify and understand the impact on their journalists when contemplating significant changes.

“We look forward to discussing with the company how all our members will finally get their money back.”