AddThis SmartLayers

Job axe fears for Scottish titles

Staff at Newsquest’s Scottish titles the Glasgow Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times are preparing for job cuts as a major review of the business gets under way.

The company is blaming the cuts on a shortfall in the UK advertising market, which had suffered a downturn throughout 2005.

Unofficial estimates suggest up to 30 editorial posts could be lost. Voluntary redundancies will be sought initially – and volunteers were being asked to come forward “as soon as possible”.

Managing director Tim Blott said in a memo to staff: “As a result many media organisations decided to make reductions in staffing.

“Our company has held off considering reductions in staffing for as long as possible but must reluctantly restructure the underlying cost base to protect the future strength of the business.

“As a result of this, all departments except the magazines business and s1, which are still performing well, will be reviewed throughout this month.

“It will be a difficult time for us all but I am convinced that it is necessary to safeguard our long-term future.”

All staff in affected areas at risk of redundancy are now entering a 30-day consultation period.

Newsquest (Herald and Times) performed well against market trends in the first half of 2005 but was now experiencing “significant shortfalls” in classified revenues with little prospect of immediate recovery.

Tim Blott was due to meet the NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran to discuss the situation.

Paul said: “Newsquest said last year that its pay deal with staff could be managed with current staffing levels.

“We will not countenance any compulsory redundancies whatsoever and if any are imposed we will not hesitate to fight them with every weapon we have.”

The announcement has come less than a week after new editor Charles McGhee was appointed to the Glasgow Herald from his previous job at the Evening Times.

As well as possible restructuring, it was rumoured that the Herald may soon change to a smaller format.