A Christmas “bonus” that works out at about £5 a head has been returned in disgust by journalists working at the Hartlepool Mail.
They made the gesture after a member of staff with 20 years’ service was made redundant and given just 10 minutes to clear his desk.
In recent years Johnston Press has given the 30 Hartlepool Mail editorial staff £150 to spend on a Christmas party. Previously it gave journalists a hamper and a bottle of wine at Christmas – both of which perks have been stopped.
A member of staff, who asked not to be named, said the redundant employee was a popular member of the IT department.
The source said: “We felt that this close to Christmas it was wrong to sack someone who has been here so long without any warning, especially when Johnston Press reported profits up 51 per cent earlier this year.
“We were unhappy about the way it was done. Normally when someone has been here that long there is a formal presentation and they have the chance to say goodbye. Because of the way the whole situation was handled we decided to turn down the money.”
Management at Johnston Press North East declined to comment.
Johnston Press publishes more than 200 newspapers, including 15 dailies.
It reported interim profits up 51 per cent in June to £66.7m.
By Dominic Ponsford