SMG awaits voluntary redundancy count

The result of a trawl of 1,700 staff at the Glasgow-based newspaper, magazine and broadcasting group SMG, to establish numbers willing to take voluntary redundancy is expected to be announced this week.

SMG, which owns the The Herald, Scottish Television and Grampian Television, wrote to staff last week asking if they would take voluntary redundancy or short-term layoffs.

The number of jobs to go is not clear but is thought to be between 40 and 100. The NUJ is meeting SMG managers on Friday.

A raft of measures, including job shares and reductions in work hours, are also being floated after the media company suffered a £10m drop in its first-half pre-tax profits – £30m in the same period last year.

Unions are concerned that compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out and also fear that SMG’s media concerns will be broken up.

The redundancies may not affect the three newspaper titles. They are already coming to the end of a voluntary severance exercise.

The joint NUJ chapels at The Herald, Evening Times and Sunday Herald told the company it would not go ahead with the exercise unless a balance of experienced and new people was agreed, said Evening Times FoC Allan Caldwell.

Through the editors of each paper and human resources and managing director Des Hudson, the chapel was able to obtain severance payment figures for each editorial employee before they chose to volunteer. The sums ranged from £15,000 to £60,000.

"This, to a certain extent, has stopped targeting," said Caldwell, "We believe we have fought our corner."

By Julie Tomlin and Jean Morgan

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