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NUJ criticises excessive bonuses in the media industry

By Hamish Mackay

February 1, 2012 | 3 min read

The NUJ has hit out at executive bonuses in the media industry – singling out Trinity Mirror, which owns the Daily Mirror, The People, Daily Record and a number of regional newspapers, as being the worst offenders.

In a media release, the union points out: “Journalists at Trinity Mirror are being told to endure their second 12-month pay freeze in four years, coming after over 700 jobs were culled in the last year alone.”

Claiming that there can be no excuses for excessive bonus payments in the media industry the union said that the cash ought be diverted instead toward saving jobs.

It said: “As well as the cash payments, there are multi- million pound shares dished out to top management on an annual basis. The total directors’ pay and pensions bill for Trinity Mirror last year was £3.9million - £1.3million of which was cash bonuses. Of that, Sly Bailey's [chief executive] package of pay and pensions was a staggering £1.7 million, including a cash bonus of £660,000.

“However, the share price for Trinity Mirror today is 48p whereas 12 months ago it was 90p.

Stephen Hester’s pay and bonus package was set by Penny Hughes, chair of RBS remuneration committee. She also set Sly Bailey’s pay when Sly joined Trinity Mirror in 2003.

The NUJ’s general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet said: "Trinity Mirror is a company beset by managerial incompetence, run by a chief executive who seems content to preside over decline and whose only strategy is to keep cutting costs, closing titles and slashing quality in the process.

“Yet the bonuses, the perks and the hikes in salary keep coming. This reward for failure culture has to stop – in the newspaper industry just like the banking sector."

And NUJ organiser, Chris Morley, added: “Stephen Hester has shown the way that most decent people in this country expect directors to act in companies that are failing to deliver growth.

“We need those at the top of companies such as Trinity Mirror, Newsquest and Johnston Press to show a real example and instead of thinking about their own wallets, to think instead about protecting their workforce and the overall business.

“Bonuses need to be earned and where that is in doubt the money should go to keeping up the resources of editorial departments across each business - not a race to the trough where rewards are showered on those who have done little to earn them.”

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