Pay cut to reduce SPH staff cost by an estimated 20% - Mar 13, 2009 (BT)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Pay cut to reduce SPH staff cost by an estimated 20%

By Teh Shih Ning
Mar 13, 2009
The Business Times

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) yesterday announced staff pay cuts and reductions in profit-related bonuses that are expected to lower the wage bill for its core businesses by about 20 per cent. 'The move is the latest cost-cutting measure in response to the sharp deterioration in business conditions,' said the media group, which has also instituted other cost-cutting measures, including a recruitment freeze and a reduction in operating expenses.

'We need to bring our costs down in the face of a weaker advertising market and uncertain business environment,' said SPH chief executive Alan Chan.

From April 1, monthly pay for 3,000 staff will be cut by 2-10 per cent. The actual cut will depend on each staff member's current pay package, with higher paid staff taking the brunt. Mr Chan will lead with a 10 per cent cut. Those earning $2,000 or less will not have any cut in monthly pay.

SPH said that the wage revisions were concluded after talks with the two unions representing SPH employees - the Singapore Press Holdings Employees' Union and the Singapore National Union of Journalists. SPH's subsidiaries will implement their own wage cuts, which will vary according to their respective situation.

Profit-related staff bonuses are also set to fall, in line with a decline in newspaper profits. Here again, senior management will take the largest reduction, expected to be about 30 per cent of their total annual remuneration.

In recognition of the sacrifice that the employees will be making, SPH said it will grant special leave to staff affected by the pay cuts, with the number of days granted based on the percentage of pay cut.

For the first quarter ended Nov 30, 2008, SPH's net profit fell 34.8 per cent to $73 million, owing to weaker advertising income and a slump in investment portfolio. SPH shares closed yesterday at $2.32.