New company has 'moral obligation' to pay freelances
Landmark Media Investments has “a moral obligation” to pay freelance contributors who are owed sums by Thomas Crosbie Holdings, according to the National Union of Journalists.
Union representatives will meet management of Landmark today to discuss payments owed to freelances and the future for staff members, whose contracts of employment transferred to Landmark when TCH went into receivership on Wednesday.
“We do not believe there is scope for a reduction in staff or a pay cut at the Irish Examiner and the Evening Echo,” said NUJ Irish secretary Séamus Dooley.
A target of 25 voluntary redundancies at the Sunday Business Post, which employs 76 people and applied for protection from its creditors yesterday, is “unrealistic”, he added.
Position of freelances
Freelance contributors to the Sunday Business Post, which applied to the High Court for protection against its creditors yesterday, are classed as unsecured creditors of the title.
However, an independent report on the Sunday title’s publisher Post Publications Limited by Deloitte suggests the company “may be required to make duress payments of €70,000 to creditors”, including distributors and freelances.
The report also highlights “significant payroll reductions” as part of an imminent restructuring as well as “the redundancy of a significant number of editorial and finance employees”.
The NUJ is compiling a database of freelance contributors to all outlets formerly owned by TCH and the sums owed to them. TCH paid freelances three months in arrears; some payments relate to work supplied as far back as December.
“Obviously this is a unique situation. You’re talking about the same team, some of the same owners. It was a carefully choreographed deal,” Mr Dooley said. “We think there is a moral obligation on their part to pay freelances. Technically freelances may be unsecured and in a vulnerable position but on the other hand the Examiner needs those freelances and there is a mutuality there.”
Freelances who worked for the Examiner and other media assets that transferred to Landmark have also been advised to contact the receiver, Kieran Wallace of KPMG, for more information.
A spokesman for Landmark said the freelance payments issue was “under consideration by the receiver”.