Union expresses anger at chief executive earning £1.4m while advocating £15m cuts

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Trinity Mirror shareholders should block proposals for a new remuneration package for chief executive Sly Bailey and recommend that her bonus be used to save journalists’ jobs.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “What exactly is Trinity Mirror rewarding Sly Bailey for? Her record speaks for itself. The NUJ has long been calling for the newspaper group to invest in its staff and quality journalism, not lining the pockets of management.

“This is not the politics of envy; this is saying that if Trinity Mirror is to succeed and survive, then it needs to be spending the money on its staff and titles.”

The Trinity Mirror’s remuneration board has proposed that Bailey’s maximum potential annual cash bonus be cut from £825,000, 110 per cent of her base salary of £750,000, to 55 per cent. That is a cut of £412,500 and reduces her maximum cash bonus to the same sum. The board also recommended that she be eligible for a higher long-term bonus from her present 80 per cent of salary to 144 per cent

Today’s figures show that Bailey earned a base salary of £750,000 and a short-term cash bonus worth a further 30 per cent of salary, with her pension contributions totalling another £248,000. She also received 503,000 shares worth an extra £396,000 which vest in 2014, and could earn a further 762,000 shares by 2014.

NUJ Northern & Midlands Organiser Chris Morley said: “On the day she started work as Trinity Mirror chief executive in February, 2003, Sly wrote to every employee and said that the real strength of the business lay ‘most importantly of all’ in its people.

“But, last month, she continued her wearying agenda of cuts by calling for £15 million more savings this year. The NUJ demands that she shows a lead now and gives up her own cash bonanza to help keep more journalists in their jobs nurse her damaged company back to health.

“It is a step in the right direction that non-executive directors, who have previously blithely ratcheted up their boardroom pals’ pay without real regard to the company’s size, have now twigged that a system of rewards needs to be based on real performance and growth and be reliant on future employment into the future. But the system shareholders are being asked to approve for next year is still way too weighted towards instant gratification.”

Last month, Trinity Mirror said it was to make cuts of a further £15 million – making a total of £120m in four years – as the group announced a 40 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £74m for 2011.  The newspaper group, which publishes five national papers and more than 130 regional titles,  is to cut pension fund payments by £69m over three years to 2015, as part of a deal to refinance its £221m debt. The report also detailed a new £110m bank facility.

A NUJ survey of reps at Trinity Mirror paints a picture of poorly paid journalists covering for redundant posts, spending most of their time uploading websites rather than finding and writing up stories. Photographers are becoming a dying breed, with papers relying on readers’ pictures. Papers are thinner and editions fewer. The only good news is that there has been some investment in websites on a number of the titles.

Trinity shareholders will have to approve the changes at the annual general meeting on 10 May.


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