PA cuts jobs but partially lifts pay freeze
By Mark Sweney/Guardian
The Press Association is understood to have reduced its staff by as many as 30 as part of a cost-cutting drive, but has reintroduced pay rises for lower-paid employees.PA, the UK national news agency, turned a Pound 11 m loss into a Pound 3 m profit on Pound 100 m turnover last year, and has been on a cost-cutting drive since the arrival of a new group chief executive, Clive Marshall, in February. It is understood that up to around 20 jobs have been lost since then, including through a voluntary redundancy programme as well as "natural wastage", and that another nine roles are under redundancy consultation.
Sources have said that the cuts are "stretching" the wire service, sports services are thought to be under scrutiny and that the company's commitment to video seems to be "being scaled back".
But PA, which said it employs 1,300 staff with more than 200 journalists across the UK and Ireland, said the cuts have not affected the "quality and breadth" of its editorial coverage.
One source said that the sports operation was a major target for further cuts, due in part to its relatively large cost base because of foreign travel, however a spokeswoman denied that the programme of cuts was singling out any particular area.
One area that has been cut back is the dedicated video journalism operation. PA admitted that there had been a scaling back of the team, although it denied this had anything to do with the scrapping of the proposed independent news consortiums.
While bonuses were paid to eligible employees last year, there was a company-wide pay freeze. According to PA's financial statement, the "highest paid director", who is not named but is likely to have been the outgoing chief executive, Paul Potts, received pay and a bonus of £463,000 and a further £197,000 for "part settlement of contractual pension entitlement".
PA has lifted the pay freeze this year for employees on less than £30,000.