AddThis SmartLayers

Union says regional publisher jobs at risk over new contracts

nujlogoJournalists are having to choose between signing new contracts or risk losing their job at a newspaper group, according to the National Union of Journalists.

The union is calling for an immediate halt to the imposition of new contracts at the Newsquest owned Clyde and Forth Press newspaper titles in Scotland.

Newsquest took over the group, which includes the daily Greenock Telegraph, 19 paid for weekly newspapers and nine free titles, in May 2015.

The NUJ claims staff have been told they must sign the new contracts by this coming Wednesday or risk losing their jobs.

Terms of the new contracts include reducing annual holiday entitlements by one day, increasing contractual working hours, slashing sick pay entitlements by up to half and reducing pension contributions.

The union is urging the company to change its current approach and instead engage in “meaningful consultation” over the issue.

Dominic Bascombe, NUJ assistant organiser in Scotland, said: “This is a classic case of Newsquest trying to impose their low level terms and conditions on staff despite the fact the company has directly benefitted from the hard work and goodwill of our members.

“Newsquest saw the Clyde and Forth Press titles as a bargain to buy because the staff there have maintained the quality of their titles under very difficult circumstances and tough working conditions. To erode standards even further is a massive blow to staff.

“Newsquest need to pay decent and fair wages and they should commit to sensible terms and conditions rather than drive down standards.”

A Newsquest spokesman said: “We are disappointed the NUJ has taken this stance while discussions are ongoing.

“The welfare of our staff is very important to us and we are continuing to have discussions with all of our Clyde and Forth staff.”


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • April 11, 2016 at 8:38 am

    ” reducing annual holiday entitlements …increasing contractual working hours, slashing sick pay entitlements …and reducing pension contributions”
    if thats NWs idea of looking after the well being of their staff then i`m glad i dont work there
    welcome to the 1880s NQ

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(15)
  • April 11, 2016 at 9:24 am

    If discussions are ongoing then why don’t they remove the threat of dismissal?
    A threat of dismissal hanging over your head is no way to have meaningful discussions.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(11)
  • April 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

    For years journalists have supported monopoly capital in the corporate press. Now they are learning where it leads.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • April 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Disgraceful (but not entirely surprising) behaviour by Newsquest, who seems to believe they can turn back the clock to Dickensian times.
    Quite rightly, the NUJ is quick to condemn what is going on as this is precisely the sort of situation that inspired the setting up of trade unions in the first place.
    Watch this development carefully, Will the NUJ be able to take on one of the country’s biggest newspaper groups and win? Or will Newsquest’s action become the model for other newspaper owners?
    Either way, it’s unlikely that the outcome will be a long-term peace for the poor, loyal saps who work there.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • April 11, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    ‘We are disappointed the NUJ has taken this stance while discussion are ongoing’. Translation: ‘We are disappointed they just aren’t going to roll over and take it like good boys’.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(5)
  • April 11, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Interestingly just a week ago Newsquest was hailing how it had made the Greenock Telegraph’s Brian Hossack editor of the year and George Munro unsung hero. And now this, clearly demonstrating how much the company clearly values its newly acquired staff.
    Trying to change the contracts was raised a couple of months ago at The Clyde & Forth/Romanes papers in Berkshire sold to Newsquest as part of the same deal. And you’re left wondering why the majority of the senior staff at the Reading Chronicle just upped and walked despite overseeing a (pre-Newsquest) spike in sales.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • April 11, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    I had a short acquaintance with Newsquest and in my opinion it is a company best avoided.
    The sad thing is there seems to be no shortage people happy to impose the will of NQ’s higher management.
    Self respect means I’d rather be out of the industry than work for them again.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • April 12, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Last week the Greenock telegraph editor and snapper appeared on the pages of HTFP falling over themselves with delight at NQ awarding them the smallest trophy in the shop, this week they’re reading the small print and realising just how much NQ really values them and the price that now has to be paid.
    Very often an award or crumb of recognition is the precursor to ‘an announcement’ as was clearly the case here, and that hollow pat on the back was a way of warming them up for the news that was to follow.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • April 13, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Cutting a well established team down to a skeleton staff and already putting triple the workload on these people and then demanding they sign a new contract that puts even more pressure on them while removing their benefits and not even offering to pay them what other Newsquest employees are paid is disgusting. The executives and management of Newsquest should be ashamed of themselves, they are the cause of the demise of printed journalism.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)