London Evening Standard imposes pay cut of 20% to some staff and furloughs others

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The London Evening Standard has cut some staff members pay by 20% and furloughed others to help deal with a dramatic change in the ad market.

The London Evening Standard has reported losses of £23m over the past two years and relies on advertising for more than 80% of its revenues.

The move may breach UK employment law as the newspaper, edited by the former chancellor George Osborne, didn't comment on how it had consulted staff ahead of the move. 

The Guardian reports that Evening Standard staff were not aware of the changes before the announcement. Employment lawyers said companies cannot unilaterally impose pay cuts or furlough staff without consultation.

It's not yet clear what proportion of staff have been furloughed or had their pay cut, which is thought to apply to all working employees earning more than about £40,000.

Matt Gingell, a freelance employment lawyer, told the Guardian: “Generally, employers cannot impose pay cuts on the workforce and have to get their consent. 

"If an employer imposes a salary cut without the employee’s agreement, the employee may continue working but make it clear that they are working under protest.

The publication is also halting publication of its weekly magazine ES. 

Osborne said the publisher had taken these “hard decisions so we can keep our people in jobs and go on bringing the paper to you during this crisis”.