Redundancy deadline looms for Herald staff

By Hamish Mackay

Journalists at the Glasgow-based Herald titles have been given until today to take voluntary redundancy as owner Newsquest seeks to cut 30 jobs.

It is understood that 20 editorial jobs will go at The Herald, five at the Sunday Herald and five at the Evening Times.

Managing director Tim Blott claimed that the company did not have the technology and working culture to meet the demands of a fast-moving environment.

Redundancy terms are understood to be two weeks’ pay for every year of service plus three months’ salary.

Paul Holleran, the NUJ’s Scottish organiser, said he was shocked by the Newsquest announcement.

He said: "We thought that Newsquest would want to ride the storm through this difficult period.

There is on-going consultation… and we are in discussions about the number of jobs going and looking at alternative savings. We will continue to make it clear to management that compulsory redundancies are totally unacceptable."

Announcing the company review last week, Blott said: "We are now experiencing significant shortfalls in classified revenues with little prospect of immediate recovery.

"Our company has held off considering reductions in staffing for as long as possible, but must reluctantly restructure the underlying cost base to protect the future strength of the business.

"I am convinced that it is necessary to safeguard our long-term future."

In an internal memo to staff, he warned: "All staff in the affected areas are at risk of redundancy…"

The announcement of job cuts came the day after Charles McGhee took over as the new editor of The Herald.

He was previously editor of sister title the Evening Times.

Former Herald editor Mark Douglas- Home departed in December after reported concerns over editorial budgetary restrictions — including an on-going recruitment freeze.

US-owned Newsquest, whose chief executive in the UK is a Scot, Paul Davidson, bought its three newspapers and other publishing interests in Glasgow from Scottish Media Group in 2003 for £216m.

The Herald cuts are the latest in a series of redundancies across the Scottish press.

In November, The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday cut seven editorial posts.

In recent months Trinity Mirror has cut 12 journalists from the Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail and 22 out of 29 at the Scottish Daily Mirror.

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