Glasgow Herald sports writer announces resignation with blog condemning 'draconian employers'

A veteran sports writer has “pre-empted” his sacking from Glasgow’s Sunday Herald by announcing it in his own blog.

Former Daily Mail head of sport Bryan Cooney revealed in his blog that he believed he had become too expensive for the paper for which he had contributed regular articles for the last 12 years.

He also criticised Sunday Herald publisher Newsquest for its decision to axe 17 editorial jobs from the paper and its sister titles The Herald and Evening Times. The move has led to a strike vote from National Union of Journalist members at the titles.

In the blog, on the No Grey Areas website he has launched with fellow freelance Jim Black, Cooney claims that a former colleague on the Sunday Herald told him that the editorial budget for the sports department had been cut to a quarter its 2011 level.

Cooney wrote: “The newspaper game in which I’ve participated for half a century has been declared a bogey. I’ve decided to leave the Sunday Herald – and thus pre-empt its sacking me.”

He went on to say that legal action “remains a consideration” as he was not offered compensation, despite admitting that he never signed a contract with Newsquest.

Referring to the job cuts and introduction of a new editorial system at the papers, Cooney wrote that the changes would have “employees working like frenetic sheepdogs at trial”.

He continued: “These guys, by order of their draconian employers, are locked into a system whereby an idle moment is just a distant memory. Travel up to 200 Renfield Street [the Sunday Herald HQ] and you’ll find a workforce that is disillusioned and demoralised; a workforce indeed which this week strengthened its resolve on taking industrial action. Where once they worked and played, they now just work and try to remember when times were better.”

Last month, NUJ members voted for strike action over the cuts at Newsquest’s Glasgow titles for a second time, after a first ballot was challenged by the company.

The union is arguing against the imposition of compulsory redundancies and is campaigning for better severance terms for those who will lose their jobs.

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