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Reach PLC places a fifth of workforce on furlough

Jim Mullen

Reach PLC, publisher of the Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo and Mirror, is to put a fifth of its workforce on furlough.

This means that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will pay 80% of their salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Reach currently employs about 4,700 staff, which would mean 940 employees being furloughed, although it is not clear how many of these will be in editorial.

The company said it would also be “communicating today” with employees about a 10% pay reduction “while ensuring no employee falls below Living Wage”.

All members of the PLC Board, along with some members of the company’s “most senior editorial and management team”, will immediately take a pay reduction of 20%. 

All company bonus schemes for 2020 have been suspended “and the Board retains its discretion over the Long Term Incentive Plan”. 

Chief Executive Jim Mullen said: “These are very challenging times and I would like to thank all our colleagues at Reach for their support and commitment.

“It remains difficult to predict the duration and long term impact of the crisis on our sector so it is key we take proactive measures now on cost to protect jobs and the Reach business for the long term.”

The company has pledged that all Reach’s “key national and regional titles” will continue to publish despite the outbreak.

Reach CEO Jim Mullen (above) was awarded £949,999 in ordinary shares in the company in December 2019 as part of its long-term incentive plan, four months after he had taken over from Simon Fox.

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