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Journalists consider strike action after 18 jobs placed under threat

John Toner NUJJournalists may take strike action over planned cutbacks after 18 jobs were put at risk across a group of sister titles.

The National Union of Journalists has confirmed to HTFP that its members at The Scotsman Publications Ltd have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in opposition to compulsory redundancies.

A total of 18 roles are understood to be under threat at The Scotsman and its National World sister titles across Scotland in cuts affecting the audio-visual desk, as well as sports, entertainment and property journalists.

The cuts are part of a wide-ranging restructure confirmed by National World this week which will see the creation of 30 new digital journalist roles, while a similar number of existing jobs are to be made redundant across the group.

HTFP understands around seven new roles will be created in Scotland, for which those affected by the redundancy proposals will be able to apply.

It is also expected that some journalists will opt for voluntary redundancy, reducing the need for compulsory job losses.

But John Toner, NUJ national organiser for Scotland, has confirmed the union intends to fight any compulsory redundancies across National World’s Scottish titles.

John, pictured, said: “Our NUJ members at the Scotsman titles are shocked and demoralised by another round of redundancies and the effect this will have on stress, workload and the quality of journalism.

“Our chapel has held an indicative vote which showed over 90pc support for industrial action and we will be informing the company of our next steps shortly.”

The National World restructure comes as it prepares to launch three new online city-based ‘World’ titles – understood to be in Leeds, Portsmouth and York.

The company has previously launched websites under that brand in Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle.

As a result, it is understood some journalism roles will be redeployed to bigger cities as part of the changes, believed to affect journalists working in the Midlands, Portsmouth, Scotland, Sussex and Yorkshire.

A National World spokeswoman said: “National World is aware that the NUJ have been in the process of holding an indicative ballot in relation to restructuring proposals across our Scottish region.

“To date the NUJ have not formally communicated with the company regarding this ballot and its outcome.

“The current restructure proposals represent minimal adjustment to The Scotsman staffing levels and we remain in consultation with those impacted.

“We recognise that this is a difficult time for all involved as we adapt to the challenges faced across the industry and the shift towards a more digitally focused future but do not believe that industrial action is in the best interests of our staff or our business.”