Staff at Johnston Press’s Scottish titles have upgraded their threat of strike action after details emerged of a planned restructure.
Last month the company warned of job losses across its business and promised a series of follow-up announcements on how individual publishing centres would be affected.
Now Scotsman editor-in-chief Ian Stewart has published details of a new structure for the company’s two daily and 28 weekly titles north of the border.
The company is seeking applications for voluntary redundancy across the Scottish operation, but the union claims only two people have so far applied.
At a chapel meeting yesterday, NUJ members at The Scotsman strengthened their warning that compulsory redundancies would lead to an automatic threat of industrial action to warn of an all-out strike.
“It is the position of this chapel that the threat of any compulsory redundancy will trigger an automatic ballot for strike action,” it said in a statement.
One member of staff who attended the meeting described the mood as “decidedly ugly.”
The restructure plans, which have been seen by HTFP, involve splitting the weeklies division into four geographical units covering the North of Scotland, Fire and Islands, Central Scotland and South of Scotland.
Each of the four units would have its own editor overseeing around seven titles, reporting into Colin Hume as editorial director, Scottish weeklies.
The restructure plans also involve the creation of a single ‘communities content’ team responsible for “filtering, allocation and creation of local news stories feeding our papers and websites.”
There will continue to be separate sports teams for the dailies and weeklies, but they will have a combined management structure.
A Johnston Press spokeswoman said: “We will continue to work closely with team members who may be affected by these proposals and will engage with the NUJ over this matter as appropriate.”
The company has previously said that the job loss figures quoted by the NUJ were a “worst case scenario.”