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Union to ballot journalists over action on job losses

Journalists at a series of titles in Glasgow are to be balloted over industrial action following plans to axe around 17 editorial jobs.

The Newsquest-owned Herald & Times Group is seeking voluntary redundancies from production and photographic staff as a result of plans to introduce new ways of working.

But the National Union of Journalists chapel at Glasgow daily The Herald has decided to ballot its members over the plan, which also affects sister titles the Evening Times and Sunday Herald.

It wants the company to make a firm committment to avoiding compulsory redundancies, an improvement in the voluntary redundancy terms on offer, and an extension of the deadline for volunteers.

Paul Holleran, NUJ organiser in Scotland, said: “The NUJ approached Newsquest management around three weeks ago seeking more staff for a beleaguered workforce, particularly production where a number of members have been or are off with stress.

“We are now facing up to 20 redundancies and although we were prepared to try and work with management as we did successfully at The Scotsman there appears to be little or no willingness on the Newsquest side to compromise.

“We fought a successful legal action a few years ago to protect our redundancy terms and it now looks like we might have to do the same again. If they want a smooth restructuring they need to be flexible with the terms.

“Members are really angry and are calling for industrial action across the whole of Newsquest, the least management can do is slow down the process and enter into meaningful talks with the union.”

The Herald & Times group has no so far responded to the union’s announcement.

Earlier this month, managing editor Tom Thomson said the changes were part of “improving efficiency” across the company.

“We are introducing new technology, we are changing workflow and shift patterns to make the operation more efficient,” he said.

“It is part of improving efficiency in the company. It is also moving things into line with modern industry processes.”