Reuters CEO reaps bonanza; employees face benefit cuts: Guild

MUMBAI: The hefty cash bonus that the revenue-losing media outlet Reuters lavished on CEO Tom Glocer last year is greater than the value of cuts in health care and retirement benefits it wants from its unionised US employees. This statement was put out by the Newspaper Guild of New York.     

The London-based global news and information company's recently issued annual report shows that Glocer received a cash bonus of $2.3 million last year. This marked a 52 per cent rise in his 2003 bonus. The company's main US operating subsidiary, Reuters America is seeking some $1.6 million in concessions from Guild-represented employees in the form of a pay-more-for-less health care plan and reduced company pension

contributions, the Guild said. The company already has imposed similar cuts on nonunion employees.

The Guild goes on to note that despite presiding over a three-year slide in company revenues, Glocer collected more than $10.5 million last year, including nearly $4.5 million in cash, up 22 per cent from 2003, and stock and options tied to company performance targets that are now worth more than $6 million. Two other Reuters top executives, David Grigson and Devin Wenig got cash compensation raises of 11 per cent and 12.6 per cent, respectively.

Glocer's response to the company's hardships has been to sell assets, cut worker compensation and eliminate at least 3,000 jobs over three years. New York Guild President Barry Lipton says, "Glocer's quick-fix tactics may have boosted the company's stock and made him richer but he's dead wrong if he expects it to lead to sustainable growth. Reuters is a service company whose success depends on the initiative of its employees. You can't

give them less and still expect the same quantity and quality of work."

Shareholders will now have a chance to vote to approve or disapprove Reuters'executive compensation policy at the company's annual shareholders meeting on 21 April. Guild members, without a contract for two years, voted 301-4 last month to authorise union leaders to call a strike, if necessary.

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