Teletext to keep Scots office open

The NUJ has claimed a victory this week after Teletext decided to keep open its Glasgow newsroom, following a review of the Scottish operation that placed 14 editorial jobs in doubt.

Following a massive lobbying campaign that included a parliamentary early-day motion signed by cross-party MPs, support from MSPs and intervention by Ofcom, staff were told via teleconference on Monday afternoon that their office was not to close, but that nine jobs would be cut from the newsroom.

This would leave the service to be run by five staff, which the union has said will not be enough.

Of the “many options” Teletext insisted it explored regarding the future of the Glasgow newsroom – which works predominantly on sport – was the transfer of its production to PA, with which the on-screen text service already has a supply contract.

But the NUJ claims Teletext scrapped closure plans after the union threatened legal action over a dispute regarding the transfer and protection of journalists’ employment terms (or TUPE regulations).

A spokeswoman for Teletext said: “Following the review and consultation with the affected staff, we will be maintaining our operation in Scotland, but it will be scaled back.

Regrettably, that does mean there will be redundancies.”

Senior Teletext managers were to visit Glasgow this week to discuss any changes. It is understood that four journalists have already volunteered for redundancy though Teletext would not confirm numbers while in the “consultation period”.

NUJ Scottish organiser, Paul Holleran, told Press Gazette: “We are delighted at the decision to keep the office open in Glasgow and thank Thompsons, our lawyers, and the Scots politicians from Westminster and Holyrood for their support.

“However, if the management are seriously arguing that they intend to maintain a high-quality service they have to think again about the staffing levels. We know there is some scaling back of the work, probably in the region of 10 per cent, but the job cuts they propose are about 70 per cent.”

The Daily Mail and General Trustowned company’s plans to close its Teletext.co.uk news website because it showed “little potential for commercial success,” would still go ahead. Up to 45 jobs could be lost.

By Wale Azeez

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