William Reed softens pay freeze with holiday increase

Business publisher William Reed has issued a pay freeze for 2009 – but is compensating staff with two extra days of annual leave.

In an email to staff group managing director Charles Reed said that as part of a cost saving exercise, which has also seen a number of staff made redundant, no staff would receive a pay rise in 2009.

Reed said that the publisher of the Morning Advertiser and The Grocer is nearing the end of redundancy consultations and that the number going is ‘significantly less than originally expected mainly because we were able to find alternative roles for the majority of employees”.

However, the cuts did not provide enough cost saving to mean that the remaining staff could be rewarded with a pay rise in 2009.

‘Now the bad news,’Reed wrote. ‘The reality may not have escaped you that 2009 is going to be a very difficult year in pretty much every sphere of business and particularly so in media. We are not alone in this but because we have acted swiftly and decisively at the outset and because our shareholders remain very supportive and take a long term view I think we are better placed than many of our peers to ride out the storm.

‘However we must act responsibly in continuing to monitor our costs in relation to income and with that in mind we have no choice but to announce there will be no salary increases in January.”

Reed said that he felt that although reducing fuel prices and lower interest rates would filter through to the company in the next few months to reduce inflation, he feared that the ‘real economic dangers’lay ahead in 2010 and 2011. ‘We will undoubtedly see tax rises and a return to high inflation driven by a weak pound and an enormous budget deficit.”

As a gesture of goodwill Reed said that the publisher, as a one off, has added two extra days to annual leave entitlement for all staff.

Last month William Reed acquired wine weekly Harpers from Nexus Media, with Charles Reed telling Press Gazette that a merging of the title with William Reed’s monthly Drinks International was a possibility.

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