Fairfax boss quits, Straits Times cuts wages

MAJOR management moves have been announced today with the resignation of Fairfax NZ chief executive Joan Withers (see earlier story) and Singapore Press Holdings stating that its wage bill must be cut.

Staff pay cuts and profit-related bonuses are being slashed to take 20 percent off the wages bill as Singapore’s premier publishing house, the owner of the Singapore Straits Times, places itself to handle the economic downturn.

Some 3000 employees will see their wages drop 1-2 per cent. Those earning less than S$2,000 per month will not be affected.

The move comes after the company reported a fall of 34.8 per cent in profits to its fiscal quarter, ending November 31. In that period, it made a profit of S$73 million.

SPH boss Alan Chan is slashing his own pay by 10 percent. He said he had to bring down costs because of a “weaker advertising market” and “uncertain economic times”

Senior staff can expect to earn up to 30 per cent less in 2009 once wage reduction and withdrawal of incentives are calculated, the company said in a statement.

The pay cuts will be offset by increases in leave entitlements.

A deal has been brokered with the SPH Employees’ Union and the Singapore National Union of Journalists to ensure there is no strike action.

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