Road to Nowhere

Members of the local Press, out on trip - unpaid of course

Members of the local Press, out on trip - unpaid

Daily Echo journalists face a further reduction to their pay despite agreeing to a 2 percent pay rise.

Bosses are asking them to volunteer for a 6.7 percent pay cut by agreeing to knock 2.5 hours off their working week.

While in another crazy u-turn, the same journo’s who had been criticised by their editor for damaging the newspaper by taking time off in order to strike, are now being asked to take even more time off to save it.

In a top secret memo leaked to Eastleigh News, the hacks ‘Head Honcho-in-Chief’ Ian Murray begs staff to cut their hours to 35 hours a week and to take a week’s unpaid leave before 31 March due to “this difficult trading environment.”

Newsquest Hampshire boss Stewart Dunn – who is also Chairman of the Hampshire Economic Partnership quango – also warns staff that not to do so could result in further redundancies.

“In the current climate we cannot rule out further restructuring that may result in a reduction in employee numbers.”

Newsquest publishes 190 titles in the UK and in addition to the Daily Echo publishes Eastleigh News Extra and Eastleigh Borough News in partnership with the Council.

It recently reported that ad revenues had declined 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In a perhaps a sign of times, revenue from job ads has declined by 21 percent.

In October the finance chief at Newsquest’s U.S Owners Gannett, said that it was a “myth” that Newsquest did not make money.

“Their margins are in the high teens to low 20s” she said “and they have consistently made money throughout the years, even in a year like last year when revenues were under as much pressure as they were.”

One disgruntled worker who did not wish to be named said:

“They are still trying to cut our money. Those who took part in the industrial action are also finding they are being denied perks like ‘press trips’ – freebie breaks away as guests of PR companies. Morale is at rock bottom.”

Since 2007, Eastleigh Borough Council has spent £338,000 with Newsquest according to a recent Freedom of Information request.

In a separate FOI request, Hampshire County Council refused to divulge how much money they had spent with the publisher.