50 up for redundancy at Glasgow Newsquest

Staff at Newsquest’s three Glasgow-based newspapers are a step closer to learning their fate after talks between management and the NUJ revealed that the company will not impose compulsory redundancies.

Journalists at The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times still face uncertainty after Newsquest Scotland chief executive Tim Blott announced a series of job cuts as part of a company-wide drive to save £3m.

As many as 50 are thought to have applied for a voluntary redundancy package and the papers’ editors, Charles McGhee, Richard Walker and Donald Martin, are to meet with applicants this week to see if their situation has changed. The union said that those refused redundancy will be able to appeal. At present there are around 300 staff working for Newquest Scotland’s titles and 16 in its magazines.

NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran (pictured) said: ‘Despite our extensive opposition to the job cuts we have decided to try and engage with the editors to establish structures and working practices which protect the quality of the product and the quality of the working lives of our members as much as is possible.’

An NUJ e-petition, headlined Not Safe in Their Hands and calling for an end to cuts across the group, has gained nearly 1,500 signatures since its launch two weeks ago.

The petition said the union would hold Newsquest to the promise to the Competition Commission in 2003 after buying the titles for an estimated £216m that it would ‘stop cutting jobs”. It will be handed into the Scottish Executive.

A source of discontent among staff is a new production system which will alter the way the papers work, which could result in redundancies.

Newsquest has floated scrapping the current nine-day working fortnight to save costs, and Holleran said he would discuss the idea.

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