Coronavirus: MediaWorks asks all staff to take pay cuts ahead of 'fight for survival'

Mediaworks' Flower St building.
Mediaworks' Flower St building. Photo credit: Newshub.

MediaWorks has asked all its staff to take pay cuts after the coronavirus pandemic triggered a drastic decline in advertising revenue that's left the business in "a fight for survival".

Chief executive Michael Anderson asked employees on Wednesday morning, explaining that the decision had been taken in an effort to prevent redundancies.

Staff in the media company's radio, television and digital workforce have been asked to take a 15 percent wage reduction for at least the next three months. Those in its out of home advertising group, QMS, were asked to take a 20 percent cut.

Anderson says MediaWorks, which owns Newshub and many of New Zealand's commercial radio stations, is now in "a fight for survival".

"I am acutely aware of how much I am asking from our people and while this has not been an easy decision, it is a necessary one," he said.

"We are doing absolutely everything we can to ensure we remain operational. This means making some very difficult calls to ensure the sustainability of our business in the coming weeks and months.

"Our people are our priority during this difficult time, and we are taking every practical measure to keep them in employment for as long as we can."

COVID-19 has come at a bad time for MediaWorks, which is currently in the process of trying to sell its television business, including the entire Newshub brand.

Up to 520 jobs could be on the line if a buyer is not found.

"MediaWorks' TV and Radio stations have provided New Zealanders with news and entertainment for over three decades, and we must do everything we can to make sure that continues long into the future," Anderson said.