Christmas cheer returns to Trinity Mirror as Bailey restores funding

Trinity Mirror has U-turned on last year's decision to cancel Christmas by restoring funding for this year's annual staff parties.

The decision to withdraw funding for the parties, revealed by Press Gazette in October, led to a bitter backlash from many of the company's 11,000 staff.

At the time, the company claimed it was "inappropriate" to spend money on celebrations at a time of drastic costcutting and widespread redundancies.

Trinity's operating profits in the 53 weeks ending 2 January 2005 were up 20 per cent to £253m with reported cost savings of £23m.

In 2005, the company made £250.2m operating profit in a 52-week financial year on turnover of £1,118.8m.

With 240 regional newspapers as well as the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, The People, Sunday Mail and Daily Record, Trinity is the biggest newspaper group in the country.

When it announced its decision to cancel Christmas, a company spokesman said: "It's about running the business in a sensible and responsible way, an approach that is in the best interests of our businesses, our newspapers and our staff."

But following a backlash from disgruntled journalists who said they had worked hard to keep the company going through a period of sweeping cuts and redundancies, Trinity has now agreed to reward them with a Christmas bash.

A Trinity Mirror spokesman told Press Gazette: "The decision to withdraw funding for staff Christmas parties was taken in the light of difficult trading conditions and the cost reduction programme taking place at the time.

"While those economic conditions persist, the company has reviewed the situation and, having taken note of feedback from staff, will be restoring funding for these events from Christmas this year."

NUJ national organiser Barry Fitzpatrick said: "Obviously we welcome that Sly Bailey has apparently reversed the policy. It's a tradition that has existed for a long time.

"I'm sure a good employer would want to reward staff in this way, but it's not the major change of policy she needs to make.

"I would like to think she would be willing to reverse a number of the other policy decisions she has taken over the past 12 months, in particular the cuts which have damaged the newspapers.

"If she is basing it on staff feedback then she should listen to staff on those issues as well."

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