Mirror and Express owner to furlough 1,000 employees

Reach, which publishes the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and the Daily Star among a plethora of local papers and websites, is to furlough about 1,000 staff.

In addition, the company’s senior editorial team will see their pay reduced by one fifth and non-furloughed staff will have salaries cut by 10%. Bonuses and the annual dividend will be axed this year in addition to financial guidance.

Reach (formerly Trinity Mirror) has about 4,700 employees.

On top of these measures, the board is said to be looking into deferring payments amounting to £4.1m a month into its pension fund, in a similar manner to firms including Arcadia last week.

The company has stated that all of its flagship titles would countinue to be published: “All of our key national and regional publications will continue to operate at this vital time despite these measures and we have sought to spread the burden of these actions across all stakeholder groups,” Reach said.

Chief executive Jim Mullen, who received almost £300,000 in bonuse for 2019 at the end of March said: “It remains difficult to predict the duration and long-term impact of the crisis on our sector, so it is key we take proactive measures now on cost to protect jobs and the Reach business for the long term.”

Several publishers including the London financial freesheet City AM and JPI Media, the owner of the Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, have suspended printing some titles because of a sudden fall off in advertising, while free print publications handed out at stations have few takers because of the lockdown.

Meanwhile, rock music magazine Kerrang has suspended publishing in print for three months because it said the coronavirus lockdown had made distribution “virtually impossible”. Its online and social media presence will remain unaffected, however.

Publishers, however, are gaining huge numbers of digital readers drawn by updates on the coronavirus crisis. But even this “good news” for firms has been marred by advertisers refusing to have their adverts running next to news stories about Covid-19.

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