Herald strike off but other Newsquest staff walk out

Journalists at Newsquest‘s Herald & Times Group in Glasgow have called off strike action planned for today and tomorrow.

The decision was taken by staff working on the Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times newspapers at a National Union of Journalists chapel meeting last night.

Union members had previously voted to walk out on a 48-hour strike in protest at the compulsory redundancy of six editorial staff prior to Christmas.

The compulsory redundancies, which come in addition to six editorial staff accepting voluntary redundancy terms to leave, are the result of a cost cutting drive aimed at saving the publishing group half-a-million pounds.

Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish Organiser, told AllMediaScotland the decision not to strike was taken because a lot of weekend pages had already prepared [meaning newspaper production may not have been affected by a walkout] and the NUJ did not want to be held responsible if the new-look Sunday Herald wasn’t a success.

Union members are expected to continue the work-to-rule policy put in place earlier this week.

The Herald & Times Group said it welcomed the decision by its NUJ chapel to call off the strike.

A spokesman told Press Gazette: “Talks between management and union will continue next week. The editorial team is now focused on the launch of a new Sunday Herald.”

The strike was planned to come ahead of the relaunch of the Sunday Herald this weekend as a 92-page news magazine and to coincide with other walkouts at Newsquest centres across the country.

Union hopes for a wide-spread co-ordinated walkout has been ruined as just three chapels are on strike today.

Journalists at Newsquest centres in Brighton and Darlington are today starting 48-hour strikes joining colleagues in Southampton who have already embarked on a three-day walkout.

Each chapel is protesting against a two-and-a-half year pay and compulsory redundancies across the regional publishing group.

The NUJ has urged senior managers at Newsquest to join it round the negotiating table to discuss a range of issues affecting its members.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ deputy general secretary, said: “Our dispute with Newsquest is a raw wound which has been undermining local journalism in many parts of the UK for several years.

“The group has been producing profits for its American parent company and fat salaries for directors while professional journalists endure poor treatment and amongst the worst wages in the media industry.

“We’ve sought to resolve our dispute with Newsquest through the conciliation service ACAS, but chief executive Paul Davison has rebuffed this effort.

“However, Newsquest does say it has no objection to its local journalism centres using the services of ACAS to seek a negotiated settlement.

“So, the NUJ’s challenge to Newsquest is clear: let’s get round the table and start having some serious talks now. We’re ready to talk – what’s Newsquest waiting for?”

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