Newsquest Glasgow, which publishes the Evening Times, Herald and Sunday Herald newspapers is to cut 40 jobs including 20 in editorial due to ‘poor trading conditions”.
Herald editor Charles McGhee and Evening Times editor Donald Martin both addressed staff and union officials earlier today and said that volunteers would be sought before any compulsory cuts are considered.
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NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said: ‘We know that advertising is down across the industry but no one else is making cuts on this level.
‘Our concern is how they are going to get the papers out – they are already short-staffed.”
According to Holleran, the two editors said in a statement that the current state of the newspaper industry was to blame for the cuts.
New NUJ president James Doherty, who works as a press officer for Glasgow City Council, said: “Since taking over the titles Newsquest has been engaged in a war of attrition which is dismantling all of Scotland’s leading quality newspapers.
“Last year we took action against management, now members are more furious than ever and we will be looking for support in any action we take to fight against these savage cuts.
“We will be looking to political leaders and others to defend quality journalism as part of a healthy democracy in a devolved Scotland.”
The cuts come as Newsquest Glasgow today announced plans to create ‘one of the world’s most modern multimedia news operations’and integrate the staffs of the three newspapers into a 24-hour newsroom producing print, web and mobile news.
The papers are mid-way through implementing a new £1m editorial system that will be launched later this month.
Managing director Tim Blott was unavailable to comment on the job cuts today but said in a statement: ‘We will be discussing with our staff and trade unions the effects of these changes but I am confident thatâ€¦ the Herald & Times Group is well-equipped for a successful future.’
The company said that consultation with staff ‘will begin immediately’over the redundancies and new working practices as the editors of all three titles ‘begin to determine the exact structures and working practices needed to produce the content essential for the current market”.
Some 180 NUJ members at the three papers went on a one-day strike last July in a long-running dispute over company plans to make 90 staff redundant, one compulsorily. Further action was called off after both sides agreed to talks.
The management and NUJ said in a joint statement in August that ‘if it is established that the new [editorial] system may lead to redundancies, then the parameters of the talks will begin with the previously agreed process.
‘This will entail seeking volunteers, early retirements, retraining, redeployment and any other alternative before discussing the possibility of demands for compulsory redundancies.”
The NUJ then reiterated its position that it would oppose entirely compulsory redundancies.