Newsquest Glasgow strike called off as both sides agree talks

The union claimed a ‘victory for common sense’as Newsquest Glasgow managing director Tim Blott agreed to meet officials for wide-ranging talks on Tuesday.

Staff at the Sunday Herald and Evening Times were out on strike today for only half an hour before news of a reconciliation was broke at 11.30am, amid ‘disbelief’from union activists.

The journalists then left the picket line and returned to work. Work-to-rule conditions imposed by the union have now been lifted.

Tuesday’s meeting, between Blott and NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran, will concern redundancies, early retirement, training and a new content management system due to be introduced next month. The NUJ has voiced concerns that Newsquest may use the system as an opportunity to begin another review of staff numbers.

A joint statement from Newsquest and the NUU said: ‘The industrial action involving the NUJ at the three titles and the magazines has been suspended pending talks.

‘The NUJ and Newsquest (Herald & Times Group) management agree to open talks next week on the introduction of the new editorial production system. If it is established that the new system may lead to redundancies, then the parameters of the talks will begin with the previously agreed process.

‘This will entail seeking volunteers, early retirements, retraining, redeployment and any other alternative before discussing the possibility of demands for compulsory redundancies.”

Holleran said: ‘They have backed down completely. [The talks are] exactly what we were looking for. We need to have a civilised discussion about the new system – if you want cooperation you have to do it in the right manner.

‘There was disbelief when they announced it – they didn’t really trust it. They’ve moved the goalposts that many times…they were all just hanging about, eventually I had to say to them: ‘you’ve won!’

Keith Sinclair, deputy father of chapel at NUJ Glasgow Branch said: ‘We will seek to cooperate with management but it is important to stress again that compulsory redundancies – whether it be one or 100 – is the line in the sand for the NUJ.

‘If there is any attempt by the company to cross that line again, the NUJ will withdraw from talks and we will again be in dispute with management and could again take industrial action.

‘We are implacably opposed to compulsory redundancies. Always have been. Always will be.”

He added that work-to-rule had been ‘suspended’rather than cancelled and could restart if talks break down.

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