Newsquest Glasgow ballot for industrial action
22 November 2019
Journalists at Newsquest’s Glasgow-based titles will be balloted on industrial action.
On Thursday 21 November the NUJ informed the employer of the ballot, which will begin on 27 November and closes on 9 December.
The ballot will cover editorial staff on The Herald, The Herald on Sunday, the Evening Times, The National and the Sunday National.
The move comes in response to the company’s announcement on proposed redundancies, stating that it will be forced to make compulsory dismissals if it cannot achieve its proposed cuts of around £500,000 by other means.
The ballot also comes after management unveiled a series of structural changes within the organisation that have raised concern among union members, who say the proposals will have a detrimental impact on the quality of their work, health and family lives.
Although the company has yet to confirm the exact number of jobs they will make redundant, this is a further blow to journalists who are facing more than a decade of cuts to staffing levels and almost no increase in wages in the same time. Staff are already stretched and stressed after years of cost-cutting and simply will not tolerate it any longer.
By coincidence, the NUJ had conducted a stress survey in the weeks before the company’s announcement. Among other findings, the survey reveals: 83 per cent of respondents believe the quality of their title has declined over the last year; 78 per cent say their workloads have increased in the last year; 57 per cent say they are pressured to produce work faster than they are comfortable with and just 9 per cent said they had confidence in the current management at the organisation.
John Toner, NUJ national organiser for Scotland, said:
"Our members are very committed to providing Scotland with quality journalism, and our survey demonstrates that commitment, despite the severe reduction in staffing levels over many years.
"This latest blow has galvanised them, and they don’t believe it is possible to work harder than they do already, with fewer people than they already have.
"To add insult to injury, it was reported that Newsquest has made a substantial bid for JPI Media’s portfolio of regional newspapers, while at the same time making cuts of up to £500k. This news was met with incredulity by the beleaguered staff.
"These papers and brands have been mainstays of Scottish journalism for more than a century, and staff are no longer willing to tolerate these constant and destructive cuts.
"As always, we remain willing to talk to Newsquest management."