Herald and Evening Times editors sacked by Newsquest after being offered demotions for less pay, MP says

Seventeen MPs have signed an Early Day Motion expressing alarm at editorial cutbacks by Newsquest at the Glasgow-based Herald and Times titles.

The motion, signed by mainly Scottish Labour and SNP MPs, states: “That this House is alarmed by recent actions by Newsquest, owner of The Herald and Evening Times newspapers.”

It expressed concern five senior members of staff have been offered redundancy.

And it claims that the editors of The Herald and Evening Times were offered deputy editor roles with “substantial pay cuts”.

The motion notes that “those editors were told they would operate in the same way as previously but under one editor for both titles”.

And it says when the editors refused those offers they faced dismissal before intervention by the National Union of Journalists to negotiate exit packages.

Newsquest says this is incorrect and that their departures were amicable. See full quote below.

The motion states that a deputy sports editor has also been made redundant and states: “There are serious doubts about the new structure and concerns over extreme workloads that will drive up stress and over bullying.”

It concludes by stating that the House “believes that these measures will affect the quality of both titles”.

Herald editor Graeme Smith and Evening Times editor Graham Shields are set to leave Newsquest on 22 December after 17 years and 19 years of service respectively.

Newsquest Scotland editor-in-chief Donald Martin has been made editor of the titles.

According to Newsquest he will also “oversee restructuring of the editorial teams to help align the business to the increasing demands of its growing multi-media audience”.

The Early Day Motion was proposed by Glasgow MP Chris Stephens (SNP).

A spokesperson for Newsquest said: “We are disappointed with the Early Day Motion by MPs, particularly as the matter at the Herald & Times was dealt with amicably without the involvement of the NUJ, as incorrectly reported.

“Nor were they dismissed – in fact they were offered alternative roles in the senior editorial team.
“Regrettably, due to significant reductions in public sector advertising as well as revenues being hoovered up by unregulated digital giants such as Facebook and Google – changes like these are necessary for us to sustain our investment in high quality journalism.”

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