Industrial action looms in Glasgow over payday change

The NUJ has said it could take legal action against Newsquest over its proposals to change pay dates for staff working on The Herald and Evening Times, Glasgow.

The union is already balloting for industrial action against the move, and claims it has found that, under the Wages Act, it would be entitled to sue the company if it refused to pay staff on the existing pay date against their wishes.

More than 400 NUJ and Amicus union members at Newsquest (Herald & Times) are currently balloting for industrial action over the move, which will affect a total of 780 members of staff.

Ballot papers are due to be returned on 17 October and staff could be on strike as soon as a week after that.

At present, journalists are paid on the 20th for work done for the whole calendar month — but this month they will not be paid until the 26th.

According to the NUJ, the move could disrupt journalists' ability to carry out certain payments such as mortgages, standing orders and direct debits.

However, Newsquest said it would offer to compensate any staff who would be disadvantaged by the move. Seven people have so far applied for interest charges or admin fees.

The company has also given staff the option to receive 20 per cent on their normal pay date this month and 80 per cent on the new pay date, which 80 people have already opted for.

Finance director Alan Hill told Press Gazette: "We don't want anyone to be financially disadvantaged by this at all. Last week we sent letters out to people saying we would like to change their pay date, and we hope that all staff will sign it and return it."

NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said: "We are trying to tell management they are being totally unreasonable and have given us no reason for doing it.

"It's going to impact upon a lot of vulnerable people, and we feel so strongly we are prepared to take industrial action and, if necessary, legal action."

The company says the change is for administration reasons only.

Parent company Newsquest first began changing pay dates in February last year, causing industrial unrest throughout the group.

Every Newsquest division has now accepted the change, except the Herald & Times. In March, the NUJ estimated that the company could make savings of around £250,000 in England through interest, but Newsquest Herald & Times insists it would only make £1,000, which it is donating to charity.

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