Furloughs and pay cuts begin to take hold amid coronavirus slowdown

M&C Saatchi announced this morning it would be furloughing staff in UK, US and Australia.

The Yorkshire Post: owner JPIMedia has furloughed staff
The Yorkshire Post: owner JPIMedia has furloughed staff

A number of UK advertising and media companies have begun furloughing staff in response to a severe drop in marketing activity during the coronavirus pandemic.

M&C Saatchi announced this morning (Thursday) that it would be furloughing staff in the UK, the US and Australia, and will be taking advantage of government schemes to help pay for their salaries during the furlough period. 

Meanwhile, the agency group’s senior management has also committed to a 20% cut in their salaries, while a "very large proportion of higher-paid" non-furloughed staff are also taking a pay reduction. 

M&C Saatchi also confirmed today that it had begun redundancy consultations with "a number of employees" across the group before the coronavirus pandemic crisis had taken hold. The company is being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the wake of last year’s accounting scandal.

JPIMedia, which publishes The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post regional newspapers, has announced that 350 employees will be put on furlough, alongside a 15% pay cut for those continuing to work.

Employees were told about the plans by JPI chief executive David King, who confirmed that 250 sales staff and 100 other employees would be put on furlough after a "significant reduction in advertising volumes".

The latest announcements follow ESI Media, the publisher of London freesheet the Evening Standard, which told employees yesterday that it is placing a number of full-time employees on furlough, while imposing a 20% pay cut on those continuing to work. However, the pay cut only applies to those earning at least £37,500. 

The company is also suspending publication of the ES magazine supplement, in response to "the very significant market-wide decline in advertising spend in weekly titles", the Standard’s chief executive, Mike Soutar, said.