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'Savings of £2m' needed at Scottish newspapers

The publisher of three of Scotland’s biggest newspapers is looking for £2m in savings – possibly up to 50 jobs – according to the NUJ.

An internal memo to staff at the Herald and Times Group, Glasgow, has told each department head to review costs, including staffing levels, by the end of the month.

The Newsquest-owned group publishes Glasgow dailies The Herald and Evening Times as well as the Sunday Herald.

Paul Holleran, Scottish organiser for the National Union of Journalists, said management told him they required savings of around £2m.

“If you count up an average wage and the pennies they can save, it could be about 50 jobs,” Paul said.

“Last time they mentioned a figure, they said they wouldn’t do it again so I’m a bit surprised. They’ve just revealed £23m profit.”

The memo to staff, seen by HoldtheFrontPage, said: “The Herald and Times Group, in line with much of the UK newspaper industry, is in the throes of an unprecedented economic downturn.

“The impact of the credit crunch is accelerating and is impeding our ability to both maintain and grow new sustainable newspaper advertising revenues.

“Since the beginning of the year, the publishing business has seen rapidly decreasing revenues.

“This, coupled with increasing utility costs, has resulted in the publishing business experiencing unacceptable pressure on profits with no sign of recovery in the coming months. The company must take action now to secure its future.

“Each department head has been asked to review costs including staffing levels, taking into consideration the impact of new technology and taking into account deliverable strategic cost efficiencies through changes to existing working practices.”

An NUJ chapel meeting is due to take place at the papers tomorrow. Herald and Times Group managing director Tim Blott was unavailable for comment.