Whilst the Kent Messenger is shedding 10% of its workforce, plans are afoot at Gazunder owners Northcliffe Media to ensure their hacks will be the only ones left to report it when the end of the world finally arrives.
The Daily Mail owned group is offering all 17,000 employees free doses of the anti bird flu drug Tamiflu at a cost of £850,000, according to journo website Hold The Front Page. Ken Thompson, the group's Employment Director, has written to staff saying scientists believed a flu pandemic was 'inevitable' and would lead to 'significant and sustained disruption to our businesses'. He continues: 'The development of a vaccine to treat a pandemic virus cannot begin until there is an outbreak of the emerging strain. A vaccine would therefore not be available to the general population for six months after the start of the pandemic. Antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu provide an alternative to vaccines but will not provide immunity to influenza. They limit its effects and increase the chances of survival.'
Mr Thompson added that the UK government has been stockpiling Tamiflu but they only have sufficient supply to cover 25% of the population which includes all essential workers. He said the Daily Mail recognised the importance of its talented people and that it had taken the action in an attempt to protect all its employees from the threat of pandemic influenza. Workers' close friends and families will also be offered the drug.
How comforting to know that, come the pandemic, a small group of Daily Mail and Gazunder hacks will survive to re-populate Thanet and the rest of the UK!
Meanwhile I hear that not all the bunnies at Gazunder Towers are happy ones. With lovely editrix Rebecca Smith on six months maternity leave, her stand-in has not exactly been winning friends and influencing people, according to word reaching the old Eastcliff shell-like. The paper is already advertising for a news editor, and other scribblers are said to have the collywobbles following a vicious rumour that's spreading like bird flu that Rebecca is planning to make her absence permanent. However, I have it from a number of horses proverbials that as soon as her six months is up, the newsroom will again be resounding to the joy of Bex!