Unpaid wages add to Bullit's woes

Bullit: future uncertain

Independent music magazine Bullit has come under fire from four ex-staffers and up to 20 freelances over non-payment, writes Ruth Addicott.

Many claim they have been waiting since January to be paid, including one who was forced to stop freelancing and get a fulltime job to pay his debts.

Four staff took Bullit’s owner, New Standard Publishing, to an employment tribunal in Newcastle last month and were awarded £15,000 for unpaid wages. They are currently awaiting payment. A group of freelances claim they are collectively owed around £10,000. And design company Quick Printing is owed £1,700.

The fourth issue of Bullit is due out on 15 July and journalists fear that if it is pulled they will never get paid.

Owner and editor Steve Janes blamed problems with distribution, ad revenue and sales. He said there could be up to 60 unpaid writers in all.

“I have been working seven months without pay as well as the staff,” he told Press Gazette.

“I have only been paid once and that was half the amount in January. We are restructuring.

Some freelances think there have been strange shenanigans going on but it’s just an independent title doing its best to survive.”

Janes said he initially invested more than £190,000 but branded claims about cash being squandered on taxis and restaurants as “ridiculous”. “I have never done big swanky gestures,” he said.

Freelance Charlie Ivens, who is owed almost £1,300, said: “I’m not suggesting they haven’t busted a gut to get it off the ground, but what they haven’t done is honoured their promises and paid us.”

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