After second round of layoffs, BCCL announces second round of pay cuts
A fresh mail was sent to journalists from the chairman’s office with the subject line ‘Password for your salary revision letter’
BCCL journalists were taken aback when they received an unexpected mail in their mailbox with the subject line ‘Password for your salary revision letter’. After a fresh round of firings in the last quarter of FY 21, BCCL has now announced the second round of pay cuts across the board in The Economic Times and The Times of India.
“When salaries were deducted the first time in 2020, we were given a heads-up by our managers but this time the mail came unannounced. Most of us have been facing a 10%-15% salary pay cut reducing our remuneration to what we made in 2017,” said a senior journalist from Times of India who has been with the organization for seven years now.
The pay cut announced only after a week of layoffs. A fresh round of retrenchments hit BCCL newsrooms across the country this year. After closing down editions such as Times Life and Sunday ET Magazine in phases through 2020, TOI and ET saw more pink slips being given out in the last two-three months. As per highly placed sources, almost 100 employees across teams have either been asked to leave or their contracts have not been renewed in the last couple of months. A lot of senior journalists were also shifted to consultant roles with their employee benefits ripped off.
Within two days of the announcement last week, a fresh mail was sent to journalists from the chairman’s office emphasizing on ‘unprecedented times and economic crisis.’
Employees were left confused with two contradictory letters coming in from the chairman in two consecutive months.
The need of the hour according to the chairman as mentioned in the note is ‘Conserve, Concern, Caution and Care’.
“The economic impact of the current crisis has resulted in precipitous fall in our April revenues and the forecast for Q1 is not great. However, the organization would still honour the TVP and SPIP payments as committed in March 21. Do conserve all resources till the economy returns to normalcy,” said the letter.
Interestingly, this came in just a week from another letter that came from the chairman’s office (announcing 100% rollout of targeted variable pay) that said, “I am happy to share that in terms of our business milestones, we are looking at closing the year with a significant turnaround.’
Unfortunately for BCCL, even with the highest circulated English news and business news daily under their umbrella the ‘precipitous fall’ had begun way before the pandemic took a toll on their revenues.
As per data shared by business intelligence platform Tofler, BCCL reported a consolidated net loss of Rs 451.63 crore for the fiscal ended March 31, 2020, compared to a net profit of Rs 484.27 crore of the previous fiscal.
Revenue from operations dropped to Rs 9,254.53 crore compared to Rs 9,611.42 crore posted a year ago for them as the total income fell to Rs 9,733.45 crore from Rs 10,467.53 crore. Even before the pandemic impacted circulation, revenue from the sale of publications declined to Rs 629.96 crore from Rs 656.09 crore for the brand while advertisement revenue has shrunk to Rs 5,367.88 crore from Rs 6,155.32 crore.
Mails written to BCCL chairman Sivakumar Sundaram did not elicit any response.
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