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Newsquest looks to protect frontline journalism during job cuts

Posted on: June 26, 2020 by Ian Murray

Regional publisher Newsquest says it will look to protect frontline journalists’ jobs amid staffing cutbacks due to the Covid-19 crisis.

However, some sports roles are likely to be at risk with two sports editors confirming they are being made redundant.

In a letter to staff, Newsquest’s chief executive, Henry Faure-Walker said advertising staff would bear the brunt of the restructuring.

“Advertising sales roles – which are most directly affected by the Covid downturn – will experience the most restructuring. Whilst some editorial roles are likely to be affected, we believe we can maintain the vast majority of journalist jobs and sustain front line reporter resource in particular,” wrote Faure-Walker.

He added: “There is no escaping the fact that April and May were extremely challenging months for our revenues.  June has seen a small pick up in advertising activity, which we are encouraged about, but it is still a long way off pre-Covid levels and we expect the trading environment to be challenging for some time.”

“There is no escaping the fact that April and May were extremely challenging months for our revenues.  June has seen a small pick up in advertising activity, which we are encouraged about, but it is still a long way off pre-Covid levels and we expect the trading environment to be challenging for some time.

“Unfortunately, the very heavy declines in our revenues and the weak economic outlook means that we are unable to operate with and support the staff numbers that we had pre-Covid.

“I am afraid that this means that there will be redundancies and we will commence consultation with people who may be affected by this in the coming days.

“Advertising sales roles – which are most directly affected by the Covid downturn – will experience the most restructuring. Whilst some editorial roles are likely to be affected, we believe we can maintain the vast majority of journalist jobs and sustain front line reporter resource in particular.”

Faure-Walker said that unless trading deteriorated significantly staff pay levels would return to their normal levels from October 1.

“From July 1st, we will be reducing the amount of the pay reduction for non-furloughed staff by increasing the earnings threshold at which the 15pc reduction applies from £18k to £22k – this means that people earning less than £22k basic salary will not have any of their pay reduced, and people earning more than £22k will see an improvement.”

Staff working in newspaper printing sites, and who continued to keep the presses rolling during the lockdown, will have their pay returned to its normal level from next week.

 

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