Newsquest is to stop offering extra pay to staff who work on bank holidays or weekends under new money-saving proposals.
The regional publisher is to stop any “additional monetary payments” for Sunday and bank holiday working, although staff will still be paid the standard hourly rate for work done on bank holidays.
Staff who work on Sundays and bank holidays will be given time off in lieu in place of extra pay, in a move that standardises policy across the group.
Those working on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day will receive extra pay and a lieu day back, Press Gazette has been told.
Press Gazette previously reported that the company would stop offering time off in lieu to staff working weekends and bank holidays, but has since been told by Newsquest that this is incorrect.
It had been based on the following message to staff from regional editor-in-chief Chris Hatton: “The Management of Newsquest Media Group Limited proposes to remove any agreement either contractual, company practice or otherwise, for additional payment and/or time off for working weekends or Bank Holidays, except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day only which are paid at time.”
Hatton also said the company would be setting the editorial working fortnight at 75 hours.
He said: “The underlying reasons behind the proposals is the identification of further efficiencies during what are difficult trading conditions and to bring consistency in the benefits offered to employee.
“This has resulted in savings having to be made and planned throughout the business including redundancies.”
Consultations with staff begin at the end of the month and, if they go ahead, will represent a change in their contracts.
Press Gazette reported in July that Newsquest had ordered journalists to declare all “personal” calls made from company mobile phones, with the cost docked from their wages.
Despite cost-cutting, Newsquest has been expanding its portfolio of titles this year with the buyout of NWN Media in North Wales and the Isle of Wight County Press.
It has also launched a handful of weekly newspapers in recent months, including heritage newsbrands and a new title covering Oldham.