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January 17, 2017

NUJ contrasts pay and benefits of nearly £1m in 2015 for Newsquest boss with ongoing editorial pay freeze

By Freddy Mayhew

The NUJ has contrasted Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker’s total remuneration of nearly £1m in 2015 with the ongoing across-the-board pay freeze for journalists at the regional press group.

According to the union, journalists at Newsquest have not received a group-wide pay increase in nine years.

Figures filed in the US by Newsquest parent company Gannett show basic pay for Faure Walker in 2015 of $474,000, a cash bonus of $352,000, stock awards of $450,012 and $172,000 in other benefits.

The total compensation of $1.45m in 2015 for Faure Walker equated to just under £1m at the then exchange rate.

According to the NUJ staff have been told that the company is “not in a position to offer an increase [in pay] for 2017”.

The union said its general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, sent a direct request to Walker to increase staff salaries but he did not reply and a company statement said it insisted on individual bargaining.

The Newsquest NUJ Group Chapel said in a statement: “We always knew that the chief executive enjoyed a very large pay packet, but this is the first time all the luxury trimmings have been fully revealed.

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“Our members will be livid to hear this news while being expected to pull in their belts yet another notch and endure yet another another pay freeze, when they are already on poverty pay and inflation looks set to rise.

“What is particularly galling is that, as the newsroom cuts continue, and the jobs of experienced journalists going, newspapers are so short-staffed they are struggling to provide the sort of service their local communities require and deserve.

“The fact that the boss’s remuneration could pay for 75 more journalists shows just how out of kilter a greedy management is with its journalists; this has to stop. Chapels and the union nationally will continue to press the case for a vital pay increase to members in 2017.”

The NUJ cited further US filings which it said showed Faure Walker had received further shares in recent weeks worth $205,000 [£170,000].

A spokesperson for Newsquest said: “This is another nonsense story from the NUJ.  The NUJ have again got their facts entirely wrong.  For the record, Mr Faure Walker’s salary is £310k (not £400k as the NUJ claim) and he was paid a 2015 bonus of £230k (not £297k as the NUJ claim).

“He received a one-off relocation allowance to cover expenses for the buying and selling of his home as a result of his appointment as CEO of Newsquest. The company pays £10k into his pension.  He turned down a pay rise in 2016 and will not be taking a pay rise in 2017.”

The discrepancy between sterling figures quoted in the NUJ press release, and in the Newsquest comment, appear to be due to the NUJ applying the current exchange rate to the 2015 figures (when the pound was considerably stronger against the dollar).

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