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Jobs at risk as newspapers invite applications for voluntary redundancy

Donald Martin 2Compulsory redundancies have been threatened at a daily newspaper and its Sunday stablemate unless “a number” of journalists volunteer to leave the business over the next few days.

Applications for voluntary redundancy are being invited at Glasgow-based daily The Herald and its sister title The Herald on Sunday, but owner Newsquest says it will have “little alternative” but to look at compulsory redundancies unless enough people come forward by Monday.

In a message to staff, editor in chief Donald Martin, left, said he was in the “regrettable position” of having to consider implementing cost saving measures at the titles.

Newsquest did not confirm the number of roles it is looking to make redundant when approached by HTFP, but it is understood news reporting staff would be at risk should compulsory redundancies be implemented.

In the message, which has been seen by HTFP, Donald said: “As you are no doubt aware the company faces challenging market conditions with both newspaper sales and print advertising continuing to decline.

“Although we are making significant progress in our digital transformation, the revenues gained are not yet enough to offset print declines.

“As a result, we need to find further cost and efficiency savings in our budget for 2020 to minimise the impact on profitability.

“The company is, therefore, in the regrettable position of having to consider implementing cost saving measures across the editorial functions of The Herald and Herald on Sunday.”

Donald said Newsquest would consider requests for flexible working and reduced hours and days, as well as VR applications, ahead of Monday’s deadline.

He went on: “Although we have made major savings through recent non-replacement of staff, we remain significantly short of the level of savings required.

“Having already reduced most freelance and agency contracts in the previous budget cuts, there is a very real prospect that there is little alternative but to look at compulsory redundancies across The Herald and Herald on Sunday unless we receive and accept a number of VR applications or requests to reduce hours/days.

“If the company cannot meet its objectives via voluntary redundancies and compulsory redundancies become necessary, staff affected, and NUJ union representatives will be notified in due course.”

Donald added: “I appreciate your continued professionalism and commitment at this difficult and worrying time.”

A spokesperson for Newsquest Scotland told HTFP: “The environment for news publishers remains very challenging, given in particular the very substantial loss of revenue to other digital advertising platforms.

“At Newsquest Scotland we are focused on ensuring that news brands have a sustainable future. We continue to restructure how we operate to ensure we work as efficiently as possible across the business.

“Whilst these potential redundancies are regrettable, it means we can continue to invest in quality journalism for many years to come.”

3 comments

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  • November 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm
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    “Whilst these potential redundancies are regrettable, it means we can continue to invest in quality journalism for many years to come.”

    This sort of statement appears every time Newsquest is planning to make cuts and it’s very dubious. The more you slash staffing numbers, the more that you are reducing the potential for titles to be full of “quality journalism”. Especially when you are taking away sub-editors who can ensure the content is accurate and well-written, experienced members of the news team who have bulging contacts books and staff photographers who take images that do far greater justice to the stories than submitted pictures from members of the public (or worse still, using Google Street Maps to illustrate where an incident has happened).

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  • November 14, 2019 at 1:45 pm
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    would this be the same Newsquest that is said to be bidding for JPI ?
    Look out all you old JP workers.

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  • November 14, 2019 at 3:06 pm
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    Hopefully the Competition and Markets Authority throw a few spanners into the Newsquest basket of fun.

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