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Journalists scrap planned two-day strike over cuts

Neil McIntoshJournalists at a group of sister titles have withdrawn plans for a two-day strike and will instead seek an “urgent meeting” with their publisher.

National World says it has received notification from the National Union of Journalists that planned action at its titles in Scotland, including The Scotsman, will now not go ahead.

The NUJ announced on Monday its members at the titles would go on strike on 26 August and 2 September over proposed compulsory redundancies.

According to NUJ Scotland, 93pc of its members at The Scotsman titles voted in favour of strike action on a turnout of 64pc, while 67pc voted for strike on a turnout of 65pc at National World’s Scottish weeklies.

But NUJ national organiser for Scotland John Toner told HTFP today: “We have decided to withdraw the plans for strikes on the dates we have announced.

“Our reason for doing so is that the members affected do not wish the union to pursue industrial action on their behalf.

“However, there are issues arising from the jobs losses, and we have approached the company for an urgent meeting to discuss these in detail.”

In a statement issued this morning, National World said: “National World received notification that the NUJ is no longer planning strike action.

“National World has consistently held the view that industrial action is not in the best interests of our staff or the business and we are pleased the NUJ has seen this to be the case.

“We hope this marks the opportunity to move forward in a constructive manner as we restructure the business for a successful future embracing the opportunities for growing digital and ensuring a sustainable model for print.”

NUJ members had backed the action following a ballot, which was called after an estimated 18 roles were put at risk in Scotland as part of a group-wide restructure at National World.

Scotsman editor Neil McIntosh, pictured, had previously issued a direct plea urging his staff not to go ahead with the ballot, warning it risked “harming” the Edinburgh-based daily.

In response, the NUJ said the union was “seeking to protect the jobs of its members”.

After the ballot’s results were revealed, the publisher told staff that annual leave bookings would not be approved for the proposed strike dates, and that any member of staff who does not confirm their intention to work “will be assumed to be taking part in strike action”.

Journalists were given a deadline of midday on Monday 22 August by which time they must confirm their intention to work.