Newsquest Glasgow union rep suspended

A Glasgow Evening Times’s union rep was today suspended indefinitely for holding a meeting with union officials in the absence of a house agreement, the NUJ claimed.

According to the NUJ Gordon Thomson, deputy Father of Chapel, was suspended by Evening Times editor Donald Martin for meeting with another Newsquest FoC and two full-time union officials, including Scottish organiser Paul Holleran. The unioon said that the meeting took place in Thomson’s lunchtime and outside the paper’s Renfield Street offices.

The house agreement, which set out the rules of any industrial action, expired in May, although the branch claimed it had been derecognised. Newsquest Glasgow managing director Tim Blott has said union officials failed to meet with company management to draw up a new agreement.

Holleran said Thomson’s dismissal was ‘illegal’and that the union was considering issuing an interim interdict – the Scottish equivalent of an injunction – to reinstate him.

‘They can’t take any action against an FoC without talking to a full-time official first. This is just going to add to the deterioration in industrial relations.”

NUJ Glasgow Branch said today that the suspension could see industrial action ‘escalate’over the weekend, though Holleran said there would not be ‘wildcat strikes”. He added that spontaneous strikes had damaged the cause of strikers during the last Scottish newspaper dispute in Aberdeen in 1989.

Staff at all three Newsquest Glasgow titles walked out last Friday and Herald staff staged a 24-hour strike on Wednesday. Papers were published as normal on both days.

Martin declined to comment.

Newsquest Glasgow managing editor Tim Blott said he had been in meetings all day and was ‘still looking into the circumstances’surrounding the suspension before commenting further.

Newsquest FoCs and MoCs from across the country are set to meet in the NUJ’s Glasgow office to discuss the dispute, and the o-going pension problems at the company.

Earlier this month the company’s 9,000 staff were told that there was a £65m shortfall in the company’s pension fund, meaning they would have to pay in an extra four per cent each week to the scheme in order to retire on the same final pension.

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