Schibsted journalists offered paper round jobs or redundancy packages
What would you find most attractive: a £40,000 newspaper delivery job or a modest redundancy settlement?
Schibsted-owned Aftenposten, Norway’s newspaper of record, is offering its journalists redundancy packages, part-time positions or reallocation to other available jobs, such as receptionist or newspaper delivery man, to cut 15 editorial positions by way of voluntary agreement.
Editor-in-chief did newspaper rounds
But before you write off the idea of moving from journalism to newspaper delivery as completely ludicrous, it is worth noting that such jobs can pay handsomely in Norway – a country where the average level of education is so high that some blue collar jobs can be difficult to staff and therefore are well-paid.
Only two years ago, the country suffered from such an acute shortage of newspaper delivery
staff that the editor-in-chief of regional newspaper Tönsbergs Blad took it upon himself to do newspaper rounds before going to work in the morning. Media companies have previously tried to staff these jobs by offering company cars, Saturdays off and good salaries.
The £80,000 newspaper delivery job
At that time, the best-paid newspaper delivery staff at Aftenposten earned £70-£80,000, admittedly by working very long hours. Normal hours spent delivering newspapers at the same newspaper paid £35-£40,000.
It is also worth noting that many Norwegian newspapers have a much higher number of subscribers than most UK newspapers, with some local and regional newspapers, such as those owned by Mecom, claiming close to a 95 per cent subscriber basis – hence the need for a small army of newspaper delivery staff.
But Aftenposten’s management felt hard done by when VG, the country’s biggest newspaper also owned by Schibsted, last week wrote about the Aftenposten cost cuts under the headline ‘Offer journalists newspaper delivery jobs’.
Aftenposten’s management said it was unfair to single out one of the reallocation options, which wasn’t necessarily aimed at journalists, and emphasised that it was common practice to offer all other available positions within the company to people made redundant.
But VG’s editor-in-chief, Bernt Olufsen confirmed to media site Kampanje.com that VG had been through a similar process, and all employees had been offered jobs at the switchboard.
“Unfortunately, we currently have no available newspaper delivery jobs,” he added.