Free shares for Johnson staff

Journalists working for Johnston Press are to be given free shares as part of a new incentive plan.

The number of shares given to staff who register for the scheme will depend on the profits of the group, which owns 243 titles, including the Yorkshire Post, The News, Portsmouth and the Derbyshire Times.

The share-ownership offer will be free to staff and will be linked to hours worked, irrespective of salary levels.

The first allocation of shares will be made in March 2004 after the group’s annual results are announced. It will be conditional on profits reaching a performance level determined by the board of directors.

Chief executive Tim Bowdler said “I am delighted that we have been able to introduce this scheme which recognises the important contribution made by all of our staff.”

In the last financial year, Johnston’s pretax profits increased to £92.7m from £68.5m the previous year.

By Jon Slattery

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