The NUJ has criticised a $1.3bn shareholder payout by Gannett, the American parent company of Newsquest, at a time of salary freezes for staff.
Newsquest employees have had a pay freeze for four of the past five years with senior journalists with two years’ experience earning just £21k, less than the £23k earned by plumbers and bus drivers with equivalent experience and the £26k made by teachers .
Paul Davidson, Newsquest’s chief executive, currently enjoys a salary of £598,441 in addition to a slice of a ‘share based payments’ pot totalling £881k last year.
Chris Morley, Northern & Midlands Organiser, said: “It is breath-taking that Gannett, the US owners of Newsquest in the UK can boast about giving away $1.3 billion to its shareholders on the other side of the Atlantic in the next two years while asking its British employees to take such pain. Journalists in this country are directly subsiding the pockets of wealthy US corporate shareholders with 2013 being the fourth year out of five without a pay rise on already miserly salaries.
“The attitude of senior managers in the group is a disgrace and I’m sure the next scandal to emerge will be how much the directors have lavished on themselves on both sides of the business.”