Scottish Media on target for job cuts

Industrial action has almost certainly been averted at Scottish Media Group with the company on course to achieve the 55 job cuts it seeks through voluntary redundancy and redeployment.

However, Scottish Television, which along with Grampian Television comes under the SMG umbrella, will lose some of its best-known presenters and journalists.

Prime-time anchors on the station’s flagship Scotland Today evening news programme — Sheeren Nanjiani and Sarah Heaney, and sports presenter Jane Lewis — were the first to announce their departure. Also reported to be leaving are business correspondent Alan Saunby, sports reporter Iona Scott and news reporters Claire Dean, Roddy Scott, and husband-and-wife team Matt Bingham and Becky Hunter.

SMG initially sought 59 job cuts across the group — including 14 news and current affairs staff.

This has now been reduced to 55 and the target of 14 journalistic jobs is now believed to be 11.

The departure of Nanjiani, 44, a mainstay of the station’s output, has taken the industry by surprise.

She told Press Gazette: "I’ve had a brilliant 22 years at Scottish TV, but with all the current changes in the Scottish media landscape I feel it’s time to move on and carve out new opportunities."

She joined Scottish TV in 1983 and the Scotland Today team in 1987.

Heaney, 35, has worked at Scottish TV for eight years, and Lewis, 34, for seven.

It is understood that Scottish will promote from within to replace some of their best-known faces.

Over the next few weeks the news team will be discussing the move to Pacific Quay, Glasgow, and how the programme will evolve over the remainder of this year.

In 2007, the station plans to produce East and West editions of Scotland Today, and insiders are questioning how this can be achieved with reduced staffing levels.

Meanwhile, the trade unions have agreed to look into how the redundancies will impact on the workload of the remaining staff.

Paul Holleran, Scottish organiser of the NUJ, welcomed the way the changes had been handled by Scottish Media Group without the need for compulsory redundancies.

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