We need your support to protect titles which are an essential part of Scottish cultural, political and civic life.
Please write to the company expressing your concerns and sign the petition.
Tim Blott, Chief Executive, Newsquest (Herald and Times) Limited, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB
Click here to sign the NUJ ePetition here
26th My 2006
"Following talks between Newsquest management and the NUJ Scottish Organiser (Paul Holleran), agreement has been reached on how the current redundancies will be implemented. A number of volunteers in each title have been told they can leave with a package.
The three editors will meet again next week to discuss issues including re-deployment and shared operations which may lead to additional savings. The editors will then discuss with other members on the volunteer list to see if their position has changed. Appeals on behalf of those people refused redundancy will be allowed, taking into consideration the part they play in the publication and arguments of why they should be allowed to go. Discussions will take place about their role in the new structure, not just now but when the new production system is introduced in September.
Management has told the Scottish Organiser that no compulsory redundancies will be pursued at present. It was also agreed that the company responsible for providing Newsquest with the new production system will be invited to demonstrate exactly what it can do. That will identify desks and individuals who maybe at risk once the system is introduced. The union will then enter into talks with the individual editors on their proposed new structure and discuss options including re-training, re-deployment and redundancy.
Management also suggested alternative savings including scrapping the nine-day fortnight, currently operated for some staff at The Herald. The Scottish Organiser has told management the union would discuss any working arrangements put forward by the editors, but wanted those talks to be open to possibilities of a four day week or more part-time working for staff not just further cuts in conditions which would also impact on freelance members.
Paul Holleran said: "Despite our extensive opposition to the job cuts we have decided to try and engage with the editors to establish structures and working practices which protect the qualityof the product and the quality of the working lives of our members as much as is possible. I would refer anyone who is interested in this development to look at the hundreds of comments on our e-petition reflecting the readers and public concern at what Newsquest is doing with these papers."
The union's Scottish office has also submitted a grievance to the company following the announcement of changes to the use of taxis by staff across the titles. Paul Holleran said: " This is another example of this management introducing changes without any consultation. It also appears to be without any risk assessment on the health and safety implications of this move never mind the practical difficulties it will cause for reporters."
19th October 2006
NUJ officials are calling on Newsquest staff to double their efforts in a second ballot vote in the ongoing pay-date dispute. Despite returning an impressive 86.5% vote in favour of strike action the union has decided to re-run last week's ballot in order to provide full protection for ALL it's members involved in the Newsquest conflict.
The company has questioned whether the union was "inducing" editorial executives to take industrial action and challenging whether the members were covered by the legal protection of the ballot process. There were also problems with delivery times by the Royal Mail and a large number of people never received their ballot papers in time to register their vote.
Scottish Organiser Paul Holleran said: "I was confident they could not mount a legal challenge against the process, but could not guaranteee that our members in positions such as editorial executive, the IT department and DTP staff in the magazines would not be vulnerable to company vindictiveness. We are therefore putting the vote to a greater number of our membership. I am sure the company know that these people are an essential part of producing the publications and will be important if and when we take industrial action.
"I thought once management saw the size of the votes and realised the strength of feeling they would try and compromise with us. However they rejected my attempt and ACAS efforts to seek an alternative solution, imposed the pay-date change and have also raised the spectre a legal attack. After speaking to our lawyers we have decided to re-run the ballot to ensure full protection to all our members."
The new timescale will now coincide with the AMICUS ballot with both votes expected to be completed within the first week of November.
(93.8% voted for industrial action short of strike action.)
Management intend to send out a letter for all staff to sign in relation to the change of pay date. We would urge everyone not to sign anything. This is an attempt to get you to sign away your rights.
Instead send back an alternative letter which the joint unions have produced (F/MoCs have copies).
The NUJ ballot papers will arrive at your home address next week. Please vote yes to both questions for maximum effect. Return the paper in the stamped addressed envelope as soon as possible.
From Paul's web blog...
YET another stand-off in Scottish newspapers.
Already this year we have held successful votes in favour of industrial action at The Daily Record & Sunday Mail over threatened compulsory redundancies and Johnston Press over the pay deal. On both occasions we sat down at the 11th hour and reached mutually beneficial agreements.
Let me make it clear to anyone who is interested, the NUJ do not want to be in this position. Our members do not want to be in the position of threatening to go on strike. We just want to get on with producing quality publications and programmes.
November 6th update
The first strike in Scottish newspapers in over 25 years is looming large following an overwhelming vote by editorial staff to take industrial action.
NUJ members at Newsquest (Herald &Times) have voted by just under 81% to hit the cobbles and nearly 92% for industrial action short of strike action, with the print and admin union AMICUS expecting a similar result.
The dispute is over the company decision to impose a change in the salary payment date without providing a full compensation package to the hard-pressed staff.
Some staff had to borrow money from friends and family while others had to take out bank loans to deal with the hardship of missing out on their normal October pay day.
Scottish Organiser Paul Holleran said: "Management have tried to play down the hardships faced by staff due to the decision to move the pay date by a week, but this vote shows the strength of feeling behind the move."
The refusal by Newsquest management to compromise or negotiate a deal through ACAS angered many and the vote reflects that. The company also challenged the NUJ's first ballot which was also overwhelming in favour of action and that was expected to put people off voting for action a second time. However that was far from the case and the union officiers are meeting to discuss the first form of action.
AMICUS members have joined their NUJ members at Newsquest (Herald and Times) in returning votes in excess of 90% for industrial action and over 80% for action which could include the first strike in Scottish newspapers in 26 years.