Carnage for members across Scotland, warns NUJ
5 February 2016
The full onslaught on Scotland’s newspaper titles was condemned at a meeting of the NUJ’s Scottish Executive Council (SEC) today. A new wave of cutbacks and redundancies across Trinity Mirror, Newsquest and Johnston Press titles has put scores of members’ jobs at risk and impacting upon their ability to produce quality journalism.
Full support was extended to all affected chapels, and to the industrial action ballots currently at various stages of planning and implementation across the titles.
The council raised its concerns about the impact of diminishing numbers in the newsroom under these massive cost cutting measures, and the consequential increase in workloads on staff, rising stress levels and less effective products.
At Trinity Mirror, nine journalists are at risk of compulsory redundancy in what is the fourth round of cuts since last June. The SEC condemned management’s decision to target cuts through a selection process that was done ahead of the announcements, rather than allow volunteers to come forward to achieve the proposed savings.
The ongoing cull across Johnston Press has put 18 editorial jobs across the company’s 28 Scottish weeklies at risk, on top of 11 potential compulsory redundancies on the Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News.
A ballot of members across The Herald and Times is underway after members voted unanimously to prepare for industrial action to stave off the latest round of cuts, after the company announced its plan to make a further £1.1million savings, at the expense of up to 25 jobs.
The SEC also heard an update on the ongoing situation regarding the treatment of a columnist member at The Sunday Herald and the SEC welcomed the constructive talks that are now taking place with management to reach a resolution.
A strategy to assess and monitor the impact on workloads as a result of the job losses was also agreed by the SEC.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"This is a period of real carnage for members across important Scottish newspaper titles, and they will have the backing of the whole union in any action they choose to take.
"We’re not prepared to see members pay with their health for the shortsighted decisions of companies more interested in the bottom line than in quality journalism. If roles are being made redundant we expect workloads to be reduced commensurately and we will be holding companies to account during these consultation processes."
Dominic Bascombe, NUJ Scotland assistant organiser, said:
"Massive cost cutting measures such as these undermine the long standing campaigning tradition of these titles and weakens Scottish media as a whole. A new approach is needed by management that invests in the journalists and the titles rather than continuous cuts."