Newsquest and JPI Media put some journalists on furlough

NEWSQUEST and JPI Media have laid off a significant number of staff and are using the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, which funds 80 per cent of the pay of employees on enforced leave. Newsquest has not ruled out laying off more staff at a later date. Newsquest has also cut pay for all workers.

From the start of April, it implemented a 15 per cent wage cut on those earning more than £18,000, including those working part time or pro rata.

JPI Media, which publishes the Yorkshire Post and Scotsman among other titles, is putting about 60 journalists on furlough and is cutting the salaries of those who continue working by up to 15 per cent. The impact on sales staff is greater with 250 posts affected because of the downturn in advertising. Chris Morley, Newsquest NUJ national

coordinator, said: “Clearly, there are massive changes around us brought on as a result of Covid-19. But Newsquest’s harsh and knee-jerk response came without warning to staff struggling with their important work in incredibly difficult circumstances.” Fed Bedendo, Newsquest NUJ group mother of chapel, said: “At a time when we are working harder than ever to keep the public informed and demonstrating how vital local journalism is, this comes as a real kick in the teeth. “Staff are working from home, facing extra

expenses for electricity and heating bills, and some of us already face hardship due to other household members losing trade. “Newsquest is taking part in the

#ThereForYou campaign urging communities to pull together, yet this is the support their staff are receiving – an attempt to cut their wages.”

JOURNALISTS have been laid off at Iconic Newspapers, which publishes 20 regional papers in Ireland. Iconic, led by Malcolm Denmark, is taking up the Irish government’s wage subsidy scheme for companies affected by coronavirus.

said: “Given that the announcement had been signalled in advance, and against the backdrop of Malcolm Denmark’s circular, this move came as a devastating bolt from the blue.” He

NUJ still operating but delegate event deferred

THE NUJ’S biennial delegate meeting, which is attended by hundreds of representatives from NUJ branches, has been postponed because of the coronavirus. The event, which was due

to take place in Southport in April, was postponed by the union’s emergency committee. In the absence of a

delegate meeting, the current national executive

council and other bodies will remain in place until the end of the rescheduled meeting. All NUJ offices – London, Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin – were closed when the government advised people to work from home where possible and meetings have been held by video or conference call. However, the union’s work

continues by email, phone and video.

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At a time when we are working harder than ever to keep the public informed and demonstrating how vital local journalism is, this comes as a real kick in the teeth

Fed Bedendo Newsquest NUJ group chapel mother of chapel

coronavirus inbrief...

BIG ISSUE PLEADS FOR SUBSCRIBERS The Big Issue could be closed permanently unless it can secure enough subscribers, its founder has said. Vendors, who are homeless or vulnerably housed, stopped selling on the streets in March to obey social distancing rules. The magazine’s founder Baron Bird said it needed 60,000 subscribers to survive.

JPI SUSPENDS SEVEN PRINT ISSUES JPI Media suspended 12 local print titles following a big drop in advertising and concerns over home deliveries because of social distancing rules. Seven paid-for newspapers, one magazine and four free papers in Bedfordshire, Sussex and the North-East stopped printing at the end of March. The related websites are continuing.

Lay-offs and job threats at Irish titles Seamus Dooley, NUJ Irish Secretary,

said there had been no consultation. Celtic Media had planned to lay off journalists before the wage aid plan was announced, triggering a call from the NUJ for a crisis forum involving the government and other groups.

HOME DELIVERY FOR EVENING STANDARD London’s Evening Standard began delivering to some homes as footfall in the capital slumped because of coronavirus. The Evening Standard usually distributes 800,000 copies a day, with more than half of those handed out at railway and tube stations. It aimed to distribute 500,000 copies to homes in 26 areas in travel zones two and three in London.

City AM hiatus as commuters vanish

Most staff at City AM have been

put on paid leave and the digital edition of the financial free

newspaper has been halted. City AM, which is distributed in central

London and at stations, stopped its printed edition in March. Staff who are still working on the

website will be paid 80 per cent of their salary, the same as

the Government scheme for furloughed workers.

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