Tindle Newspapers will pay a total of £200,000 in bonuses to its 700 employees in the coming weeks.
In a letter to staff yesterday, chairman Sir Ray Tindle said the bonuses for all employees, ranging from £150 to £400 for full-time staff, could be paid as early as October, to celebrate his own birthday.
In the letter, he wrote: “Despite the deep recession it has been decided once again to pay a bonus to every member of staff and to pay it somewhat earlier than last year – hopefully in time for my 87th birthday in early October!”
The bonuses will be calculated with reference to how each individual company in the group performed during the year. Bonuses for part-time staff will be paid on a pro-rata basis.
Tindle wrote: “We are glad to be able to pay this as everyone has worked hard to try to pull our newspapers through this dreadful recession.”
He further highlighted his company’s launch of 21 new weekly titles “since the start of the recession” and claimed that between 50 and 60 of its newspapers “have improved their financial position currently as against last year”.
He continued: “The fall in revenue as the result of the recession and other factors has meant that all newspapers are having to slim in order to keep their heads above water, but this has been mainly achieved by non-replacement and no journalists have been made compulsorily redundant in the Tindle Newspaper Group so far.
“Despite this major fall in advertisement revenue and in profit during these almost six years of downturn, as a group we are still in a viable situation. With your continued help we’ll see this recession through. There are 1,000 local weekly newspapers in the UK. Many of them have served their communities for between 100 and 200 years. With their dedicated staffs they fill a clear need and will certainly survive the present troubles as they have always done in the past. Local weekly newspapers are completely confident of their future.”