Northcliffe, the regional arm of the Daily Mail and General Trust, has announced a pay freeze across all its 130 papers.
The move, announced today, will affect journalists at papers including the Hull Daily Mail, Stoke’s The Sentinel, the Bristol Evening Post, and the Gloucestershire Echo.
Kevin Beatty, chief executive of A&N Media, which includes Northcliffe, blamed ‘very difficult economic conditions”.
The freeze will not be reviewed until February next year at the earliest – and management has warned it may not be lifted then.
A Q&A sent to staff, seen by Press Gazette, said: ‘It will be reviewed in February 2010. We will take a view then on whether the freeze needs to continue, in light of the economic circumstances at that time.”
The Q&A also said: ‘Q: My pay review date is on the anniversary of my start date. How will that be dealt with?
‘A: You will not receive an increase on your next pay review date.”
And: ‘Q: My manager promised me special consideration at the next pay review. Will I be treated as a special case?
‘A: Sorry, but no. This freeze applies to all annual pay reviews.”
But the memo said newcomers passing probation periods, trainees becoming senior, and anyone being promoted would receive a pay rise.
Last month, Northcliffe announced it was cutting 50 jobs by centralising subbing in the East Midlands, Humberside and Lincolnshire.
In Staffordshire, the company announced it was cutting 24 jobs by centralising subbing in Stoke.
And, in January, Northcliffe announced 45 job losses at the Bristol Evening Post and Western Daily Press.
Last year, the group saw its profit fall by £25m to £68m. Property advertising revenue fell 22 per cent, motors advertising fell 12 per cent, and recruitment advertising fell 11 per cent.