Investors in Trinity Mirror are set to vote next month on changes to the way the newspaper group's directors are paid, after a backlash by some of the company's biggest shareholders.
The Mirror publisher is reported to be proposing to cut the maximum level for cash bonuses from 110 per cent of base salary to 55 per cent, while increasing the potential for long-term share awards from 80 per cent of salary to 144 per cent.
The National Union of Journalists has urged shareholders to block the proposals at the company's annual general meeting on 10 May. The union described the proposed reforms as "still way too weighted towards instant gratification".
One investor told the Financial Times: "The pay plan is a wholly inadequate response by the board to consistent and strong messages from top shareholders unhappy at Ms Bailey's pay and the group's performance. The board's response is ridiculous. They have effectively ignored us."
In a release, the NUJ called on Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey to give up her cash bonus "to help keep more journalists in their jobs and nurse her damaged company back to health".
The union's northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: "It is a step in the right direction that non-executive directors have now twigged that a system of rewards needs to be based on real performance and growth and be reliant on future employment into the future. But the system shareholders are being asked to approve for next year is still way too weighted towards instant gratification."
Announcing its end-of-year results last month, Trinity Mirror said it was to make a further £15 million in cuts this year - making a total of £120 million in four years.
The group announced a 15 per cent fall in operating profits to £104.5 million, due to increasing newsprint prices, and a £69 million cut to its pension fund payments over three years.
Bailey's base salary of £736,000 was frozen for the fourth consecutive year, along with the rest of the board. On top of this, she received a £248,000 cash bonus linked to the group's operating profit performance - less than the £825,000 for which she would have been eligible if all targets had been met.