Newsquest Wales asks staff 'take week's unpaid holiday'

Staff working for Newsquest‘s operation in Wales, Gloucestershire and the south midlands are understood to have been asked to take a week’s unpaid leave to push back the threat of job cuts.

Press Gazette understands Gavin Steacy, Newsquest’s regional managing director, briefed around 40 staff in Newport yesterday that costs needed to be controlled because of the difficult financial position of the company.

Steacy is understood to have asked staff to take an additional week of unpaid holiday in 2011, which would enable the company to guarantee no redundancies before July.

A similar briefing is expected at Newsquest’s centre in Gloucester later today.

Staff fear that up to 30 members of staff across the division could be made redundant if they do not accept two days unpaid leave this quarter, then one in each of the subsequent quarters through the remainder of the year.

Newsquest is understood to have committed to pay three months notice to any staff made redundant before September.

In return the almost three-year pay freeze would be lifted and a round of pay reviews would begin in April, with Newsquest offering a two per cent rise.

However, there has been no official confirmation of these points yet by Newsquest.

Staff are unhappy that colleagues working on other Newsquest titles across the country have been offer the pay increase without the prospect of having to accept a week’s unpaid leave.

One staff member told Press Gazette: “We feel like we have been dealt a fait accompli and that we can’t say no… this firm seems to exist just to cut things.

“The mood here is foul. The management inspires no confidence; there is a long running feeling of resentment.”

Newsquest Wales has yet to return a request for comment.

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