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August 18, 2022updated 07 Oct 2022 7:13am

NUJ calls off Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News strike over redundancies

By Charlotte Tobitt

Journalists at National World titles in Scotland including The Scotsman will no longer go on strike over compulsory redundancies.

National Union of Journalists members at The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News and National World’s Scottish weeklies including The Falkirk Herald and Milngavie and Bearsden Herald voted to strike last week.

They objected to plans for compulsory redundancies within a digital-first restructure at National World titles across the UK. The plan will see around 30 jobs at legacy titles cut, with about the same number of digital roles created at National World’s city websites.

On Monday the NUJ announced strike dates for Friday 26 August and Friday 2 September had been agreed for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News. The dates did not apply to the weekly titles where negotiations had remained ongoing.

The strike dates that had been announced have now been called off. Two NUJ members are being made redundant compulsorily but it has been said that they did not want the strike action to take place.

John Toner, the NUJ national organiser for Scotland, said: “We have decided to withdraw the plans for strikes on the dates we have announced.  Our reason for doing so is that the members affected do not wish the union to pursue industrial action on their behalf.

“However, there are issues arising from the jobs losses, and we have approached the company for an urgent meeting to discuss these in detail.”

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Toner said the issues included the restructure and the fact that there will be fewer staff: “We need information about how this will affect workloads and working hours,” he explained.

The NUJ previously said last week’s ballot result gave it the mandate to seek industrial action at any time in the next six months.

National World has received formal notification that the NUJ is no longer planning strike action.

A spokesperson for the company said: “National World has consistently held the view that industrial action is not in the best interests of our staff or the business and we are pleased the NUJ has seen this to be the case.

“We hope this marks the opportunity to move forward in a constructive manner as we restructure the business for a successful future embracing the opportunities for growing digital and ensuring a sustainable model for print.”

The cancellation of the strike means staff at two major publishers in Scotland will no longer be taking industrial action on the same day next week.

NUJ members at Reach, which in Scotland owns the Daily Record, Sunday Mail, Perthshire Advertiser, Stirling Observer, Dumfries and Galloway Standard and Live websites including Edinburgh Live, are on strike on Friday 26 August which would have overlapped with the action at The Scotsman.

Reach journalists across the UK and Ireland are also striking on Wednesday 31 August and for 48 hours on 14 and 15 September, and will carry out action short of a strike under “work to rule”, meaning following contracted working hours only, from 1 to 13 September. However they are striking over a 3% pay rise offer rather than redundancies.

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