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Political row hots up over Scottish job cuts

The political furore over plans to force 250 Glasgow journalists to reapply for their own jobs will today reach the floor of the Scottish Parliament.

The future of the Herald newspaper group will be discussed by Scottish politicians in Edinburgh in a debate due to start at 5pm.

It comes in response to the news last month that 250 editorial staff at the Newsquest centre were being invited to reapply for 210 jobs in a shake-up affecting the Evening Times, The Herald and Sunday Herald titles.

The motion, entitled ‘Devastating Cuts At The Herald and Evening Times’, has been put forward by Sandra White, Scottish National Party MSP for Glasgow and signed by 28 other MSPs.

It reads: “Parliament condemns the announcement that all staff at The Herald and Evening Times in Glasgow will be made redundant and have to re-apply for their jobs under new terms and conditions, which it believes will inevitably leave them worse off, and further believes that this reorganisation will have a damaging effect on editorial independence among the titles and should be re-evaluated.”

The proposals have already caused a huge political backlash with Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond both voicing their concerns over the plans.

Herald and Times group MD Tim Blott and managing editor Tom Thomson met on Monday with Scottish Government enterprise minister Jim Mather and SNP Westminster MP Pete Wishart to discuss the proposals.

A company statement said: “They accepted the urgent need for change in a fast-moving media market during a deepening recession.

“We reassured them that we were having a continuing and constructive dialogue with staff and union representatives.

“We also offered to take part in a wider debate about the Scottish daily newspaper industry.”