AddThis SmartLayers

Journalists defer industrial action for company talks

Journalists at three Newsquest titles in Scotland have decided against immediate industrial action in a bid to hold “meaningful talks” with the company.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at the The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times voted last week in favour of taking industrial action over redundancies at the titles.

But at a chapel meeting on Monday, they put any possible action on hold so the union can hold talks with Newsquest management in a bid to resolve the dispute.

The latest ballot, which had to be re-run after a legal challenge, saw 97pc in favour of taking action short of a strike and 76pc supporting strike action.

NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said: “They asked me to hold some talks with the company. We have got the ballot result to fall back on if we need to.

“They are angry because there are just not enough people in there to get the papers out. It is affecting the quality. The shortage of bodies is the real problem.

“We have got the ballot result and we are hoping that it persuades them to enter into meaningful negotiations on staffing levels and redundancies.”

He said it would be the first talks held with management since the redundancies were announced.

The dispute arose over plans for 17 editorial redundancies from the photographic and production departments at the titles, which the union said included eight compulsory redundancies.

Union members were due to begin a work-to-rule last month but this was called off after a legal challenge by Newsquest’s Herald and Times Group.

The group argued that the name of the company in the first ballot had been wrong – Newsquest (Herald and Evening Times) instead of Newsquest (Herald and Times) – and that the timescale to notify the company of action had not conformed to legal requirements.

No one from the group had responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.