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Job cuts at dailies will leave journalists working in ‘intolerable conditions’, union claims

nujlogoJournalists working on two sister dailies claim they will be left working in “intolerable conditions” following a planned round of job cuts.

Members of the National Union of Journalists working on The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News, as well as Scotland on Sunday, have sought reassurances over their workloads as owner JPIMedia conducts a voluntary redundancy process.

JPIMedia launched a VR scheme in April with the aim of cutting up to 70 roles across the UK.

Up to 10 redundancies were being sought in Edinburgh, with the company offering enhanced packages including an additional £2,500 pay-off on top of the usual terms.

The NUJ’s chapel in Edinburgh says some of those to take up the offer have left the company’s titles in the Scottish capital this week.

A statement issued by the chapel reads:” We deplore publicly the loss of so many of our hard-working and valued colleagues who are leaving this week. While they have all been classed as voluntary redundancies, we recognise that they are extremely reluctant to leave a job and a paper that they love.

“Since Johnston Press was acquired by its new owners, there has been a constant process of cost-cutting – from closing offices to closing titles. This latest round of jobs cuts leaves the remaining staff questioning how they can possibly produce their newspapers under what would reasonably be considered intolerable conditions.

“There has been little or no guidance from our managers – rather, there has been almost total silence on what our future holds. We would urge management to clarify as quickly as possible how they imagine we’re supposed to get the papers out with the staff we have left.

“JPI Media may feel that they are investing in the company by hiring low-paid digital journalists, but that only re-enforces our belief that they are keen to see the loss of trained journalists and the demise of the printed product.”

HTFP has approached JPIMedia for a comment.


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  • June 21, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Have genuinely never been overworked or undervalued (by top brass) to the extent I was working at my last newspaper.

    There’s a bond between fellow journos and the editor/news editor if you’re lucky, and an affinity for the paper itself (it’s got your name on it, it’s got history, you want it to be as good as it could be).

    But we had no loyalty to the company itself because they had none to us. Probably the only industry I’ve worked in where the people at the very top had never actually worked in it, nor cared for it either.

    You really don’t realise how much they exploit your dedication and loyalty until you leave and go to a non journalism role. My next job was much better paid and I hardly had to do anything, think I had four emails in about three years and used to meander down for a coffee whenever I wanted, as opposed to the paper where the phone was going, emails agogo, sometimes even proofing my own stuff, eating lunch at my desk, getting home late every night.

    Strange industry and I’ve actually watched whole papers eat themselves to death, People lay you off then have a party to celebrate, then someone lays them off and there’s another party, then they get laid off and there’s nobody left to go to the party.

    Working for newspapers sent me slightly left of Karl Marx. If that’s capitalism, we’re doomed.

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  • June 21, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    If the department heads and editors cannot protect their staff from being overworked, they are making things worse. If you give the impression cuts work and you can cope, the bean counters will have done their job, people need to learn the word ‘NO’.

    If staff in Edinburgh refuse to be overworked, the problem falls on the people paid to protect them. Everyone should join the union and work to rule, its quite simple. If you can’t stick together you may as well give up now.

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  • June 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    @Dave S.
    You’re quite right, it is very simple, and everyone should have stuck together years ago. Instead, employers have capitalised on staff willing to do the work of others.
    Reporters taking pictures for example.
    And where was the NUJ when this situation was developing? Nowhere.
    I’m afraid any ‘input’ they have now is too little and too late.

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  • June 21, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    The NUJ could have acted alot more to stop reporters taking pictures when the practice first started and reporters could have joined the union and refused en masse to take pictures. Reporters seem willing to put themselves in danger outside court photographing defendants on a phone rather than objecting to the practice. Does a reporter have to be seriously injured for this practice to be stopped and the NUJ to speak out more?

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  • June 24, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    That’s the issue @DaveS
    editors, fearful of being seen to be going against the flow, do accept cuts and whatever else is given to them to pass down to their staff which suits their bosses and the bean counters as the work gets done but with fewer staff and for less money. I’d also like to think they’d learn to say NO but when you’re managed YES men it simply won’t happen.
    Oh for the days of real editors who fought their corner and put their staff, the paper and their readers first.

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  • June 24, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    The journalists at my paper, and all the others I know, are run ragged. We get great stories coming in and have no choice but to ignore them because we know we’re already going to be working a 10 hour day topped-off with a meeting in the evening.

    There is a bright future for local journalism. People want to read our stuff – thousands do, every day, online. They talk about it, they argue about it, they know the reporters’ names and they email them direct when they’re disgruntled. We have never been so close to our audience, so in tune with what makes them tick. Web analytics have been a massive leap forward for our industry.

    But we can’t continue to do it like this. We urgently need more reporters. Those that are working on JPI papers right now will be burnt out this time next year. I only wish that those at the top would recognise how important a time this is to invest in staff and to harness that audience that still, unbelievably, wants to read what we write.

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  • June 24, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    I remember as a freelancer working for The Scotsman etc and filing stories for them and the other three main Scottish dailies just about every day when I was working in Brussels. Generally they paid well and they were proud to be Scotland’s nationals. Then the “management” was staffed with people who, at least, gave the impression they knew what would make readers buy the brand. Now, too many at the top of the withering tree give the impression they don’t even bother to read the paper they work for and haven’t a clue what the readers want – and there are, I reckon, still plenty who want to read a paper but don’t because the are not able to report on incidents etc in the way they shld because of staff cuts.

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