30 jobs to go at Herald

By Hamish Mackay

Thirty journalists jobs are expected to be
axed at Glasgow-based Newsquest (Herald and Times) Ltd across its three
newspapers – The Herald, Sunday Herald and Glasgow Evening Times.

Press
Gazette understands that 20 jobs will go at The Herald, five at the
Sunday Herald and five at the Evening Times. The company hope the cuts
can be achieved through voluntary redundancies.

Altogether 65
jobs will go in editorial and printing operations as Newsquest, which
employs around 900 staff in Scotland, seeks to cut costs as the
advertising recession continues.

However, the company¹s magazines
division and s1, the jobs recruitment website, will not be affected.
Both divisions are considered to have met advertising revenue targets.

A
30-day consultation period is now underway although a deadline has been
set for volunteers to come forward by next Friday (10 February).
Redundancy terms are understood to be two weeks pay for every years of
service.

Around 250 staff attended a mass meeting yesterday afternoon (Wednesday).

Afterwards,
Paul Holleran, the NUJ’s Scottish organiser, said: “This is a shock. 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.”

Tim Blott, managing director of Newsquest (Herald and
Times) Ltd, 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.

“As a result of
this, all departments except the magazines business and s1, which are
still performing well, will be reviewed throughout this month.

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

And in an internal memo to staff, Blott warned: “All staff in the affected areas are at risk of redundancy…”

The
announcement came come less than a week after Charles McGhee was
appointed new editor of The Herald – switching from his previous post
as editor of 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.

The Scottish newspaper industry has had a rough ride recently.

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

In
early December, Trinity Mirror said it was cutting 43 jobs at the
Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail. Around 12 editorial job cuts are
believed to have been achieved through voluntary redundancy.

Three
days later, Trinity Mirror said 29 editorial jobs would go at the
Scottish Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror¹s Scottish edition although
that has been scaled back to around 22.

And in mid-December,
Glasgow-based Scottish Media Group, which owns Scottish Television and
Grampian Television, announced 59 redundancies – including 14 in news
and current affairs.

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