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Journalists vote for strike action at titles after nine redundancies announced

Journalists at a series of newspaper titles where nine redundancies have just been announced have voted by a margin of nearly 8 to 1 to take strike action.

As reported by HTFP today, nine members of staff at Glasgow-based daily The Herald and its sister titles have volunteered for redundancy to help stave-off compulsory job cuts.

They include chief reporter David Leask and social affairs correspondent Stephen Naysmith, described in a tweet by The Guardian’s Scotland editor Severin Carrell as “great reporters” and “serious losses.”

The National Union of Journalists has now announced the results of an earlier ballot on industrial action, with 86.7pc of members supporting strike action on a 61pc turnout.

Glasgow Herald office

The ballot covered editorial staff on The Herald and Newsquest sister titles The Herald on Sunday, the Evening Times (recently re-launched as the Glasgow Times), The National and the Sunday National, based in three locations.

It followed a plea by editor-in-chief Donald Martin last month for volunteers for redundancy to come forward in order to avoid compulsory job losses.

NUJ Scotland organiser John Toner said: “Such a firm vote in favour of industrial action demonstrates the strength of feeling among our members faced by yet another round of jobs cuts, and the increased workloads that reduced staffing levels bring.

“We have already begun constructive talks with Newsquest management, and we are confident that these will continue. I am in no doubt that the employer will take on board the anger and frustration that have been expressed through this ballot.”

A Newsquest Scotland spokesman said: “Whilst we are disappointed that NUJ members are contemplating industrial action, constructive dialogue is ongoing with both the Union and staff.”

Other staff set to leave in the next six weeks include an assistant editor, the head of sport, the chief sports writer, two senior feature writers, a sub-editor and a business correspondent.

In a memo seen by HTFP, Donald wrote: “Although I will be very sad to lose such a wealth of talent and experience, I much appreciate the gesture they have made as it means we are making significant progress towards achieving the savings required.”

He is now inviting internal applications for a series of other roles to help avoid compulsory redundancies.