Herald titles to strike over £3 million cuts

Staff at Newsquest’s three Glasgow titles have voted ‘overwhelmingly’in favour of strike action and are set to stage the first in a series of walk-outs next Friday.

Some 74 per cent of NUJ members who voted said yes to strike action – 87 per cent voted for action short of a strike – in what the union claims will be the first strike in Scottish newspapers for 25 years.

Journalists at the Herald, Sunday Herald and the Glasgow Evening Times are unhappy about a proposed round of job cuts, as many as 90 according to company executives, designed to save the company an estimated £3m.

NUJ scottish organiser Paul Holleran said: ‘Our members have had enough of the extremism of this management. Despite massive profits they keep seeking cuts. They have gone too far this time in selecting fine, experienced journalists for compulsory redundancy when they are aware of a dozen or so others with similar skills are seeking voluntary redundancy deals in other parts of the building.

‘We will do whatever required to stop this dreadful behaviour and that includes striking, legal action and political pressure through an inquiry into their misleading assurances to the Competition Commission when they took over four years ago.”

Holleran told Press Gazette that Friday’s action could be the first in ‘a series of one and half-day walk-outs”. He admitted that the turnout of the ballot was low, but blamed this week’s Post Office strike.

The NUJ has for weeks been calling for the Competition Commission to investigate claims that Newsquest had not honoured a pledge not cut editorial budgets when it bought the papers in 2003, but the commission this week said there was not enough evidence to pursue the claim.

Newsquest Glasgow regional managing director Tim Blott told Press Gazette last month: ‘Since Newsquest took over, we have invested more than £10m in the papers and we’re investing more than £3m this year. I don’t think that shows a company that isn’t investing in the long term.”

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