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Newsquest journalists set date for new ballot

Journalists at Newsquest titles in Scotland will be reballoted for industrial action next week over redundancies, after the previous vote met with a legal challenge from the company.

Members of the National Union of Journalists at the Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times were forced to call off a work-to-rule which was due to begin last Friday.

The action was called off after a legal challenge to its previous ballot by the group which argued that the name of the company 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

Now union members will start voting in a new ballot for action from Monday over plans for 17 editorial redundancies from its photographic and production departments

NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said: “The re-ballot shows the unity of the chapel and the strength of feeling amongst our members. Gannett has a total revenue of £848m yet they want to keep on cutting jobs and make compulsory redundancies on what are nearly statutory terms.”

The first ballot saw 86pc of those who voted were in favour of going on strike and 96pc wanted action short of a strike.

The union claimed the job losses at the titles would include eight compulsory redundancies and said these could have been avoided if the company had offered better redundancy terms.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Decisions taken in London are gradually eroding the Newsquest Scottish titles. In the past similar decisions have been rewarded with a bonus pot for directors worth £240,000.

“It is an utter disgrace that big business is allowed to destroy people’s livelihoods and squeeze the life out of newspaper titles so that those at the top can fill their own pockets.

“It seems that greedy managers in London are interfering in Glasgow as rivals jockey to replace the chief executive Paul Davidson before the end of the year.

“The Scottish job cuts are signed off by London with a total disregard for local readers, local journalists and the titles they produce. The NUJ calls on Newsquest and its parent company Gannett to stop slashing jobs.”

As well as job cuts, the union is concerned about the introduction of a new editorial system at the titles.

The Herald and Times Group declined to comment.