Pay freeze announced at Archant Life magazines

Regional magazine publisher Archant Life has announced a pay freeze for all of its staff.

Staff were told yesterday in a memo. A spokesman for Archant said its other divisions, which include regional newspaper titles in Norfolk, Suffolk and London, would make their own pay decisions.

Archant Life has 65 magazine titles across the country, from Lake District Life to Cornwall Life, and claims more than one million readers.

Archant Life MD Johnny Hustler told staff: “I am writing to let you know that we are not in a position to award a pay increase on 1 April, nor will there be a Share Incentive Plan launched this year.

“This is a decision that applies across Archant Life and in the current economic climate I am sure you can appreciate why it has been made.

“As we try and cope with an unprecedented downturn in business we are already having to see people leave the company and we have embarked upon a raft of other cost saving measures.

“We have also restructured our senior management to put a greater focus on growing our revenues.

“It is too early to tell if these measures are enough to address the current challenge, but I hope they will prove to be.

“In these circumstances a prudent approach to our payroll seems the only sensible approach. I apologise for the bad news and hope that this does not cause you undue hardshi.

“We will keep the situation under constant review, but it looks unlikely that the position can change this year.

“Also, against much media focus on the matter of ‘dual values’ I can assure you that this approach also applies to my own pay and that of Life’s senior management team.

“The coming months will be a challenge – but we must remember that we have a huge number of strengths on our side and I am sure that whatever happens we will certainly be one of the first media businesses to emerge from the problems.”

Group-wide, Archant, which employs 2,400 staff, recently announced profits of £22m for 2008, a 27 per cent fall year on year. Magazine profits were down 17.9 per cent to £5.8m.

The company has also announced that Staffordshire County Magazine and Birmingham Life would switch from monthly to annual publication.

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