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Journalists vote to take strike action at Scottish weeklies

nujlogo_burgundyJournalists at a group of weekly newspapers in Scotland have voted to take strike action over staffing levels.

Members of the Johnston Press Scottish Weeklies chapel of the National Union of Journalists voted 77.1pc in favour of strike action and 85.7pc in favour of action short of a strike.

The dispute arose following the rollout of the company’s ‘Newsroom of the Future’ project which involved the loss of 20 posts on JP’s Scottish weeklies as well as 13 on its daily and Sunday titles.

The union claims the changes have led to rising stress levels among the remaining staff and that the quality of the titles affected has suffered.

In a statement issued on Friday, the union said a two-hour meeting in Edinburgh aimed at resolving the dispute had failed to find a solution.

However talks between the two sides are set to continue next week and the company says it still hopes to avoid industrial action.

The union statement said:  “Members have voted in favour of industrial action as talks took place between union officers and senior management on staffing level issues across Johnston Press titles.

“A two hour meeting at the company offices in Orchard Brae in Edinburgh explored ways to bridge the gap between both sides, without reaching a solution.

“The wide-ranging discussions on budgets, working practices, staffing levels, use of freelance cover, recruitment policy and the state of the industry never reached agreement on a mutually acceptable outcome, but more talks are planned.

“Both sides agreed that a closer understanding on the problems had been established but the union side believe insufficient progress has been made to end the dispute.”

Union members at the Scottish daily titles, which include The Scotsman and the Edinburgh Evening News, have also called for a ballot for industrial action.

A Johnston Press spokesperson said: “Johnston Press has not had yet received any formal notice of intent from the NUJ. However, we will continue to work with them and our teams in Scotland to address the issues raised and hope to avoid any industrial action.”