Staff Forced to Take to the Street to Meet Union Rep

Relations between staff and management at the Herald group of newspapers arguably took a turn for the worse yesterday when members of the National Union of Journalists at the Sunday Herald were required to meet their union representative on the street; and not all members, because of a threat of disciplinary action.

The union has so far led two walk-outs of staff at the group, following proposed compulsory redundancy at one of the group’s titles, the Evening Times. Another walk-out, specifically targeted at the Evening Times, is scheduled for a week today.

But when NUJ members at the Sunday Herald yesterday wanted to meet the union’s Scottish Organiser, Paul Holleran, they were told it wouldn’t be possible because Holleran constituted a ‘third party’. The designation follows a management claim that the negotiating rights of the NUJ have lapsed (read more, here).

But then, when staff opted to meet Holleran on the street, during their lunch break, they were informed there was a risk of disciplinary action, should there be nobody at the paper to provide cover to take telephone calls, etc.

Said Holleran: “It’s pathetic. Once again, [managing director] Tim Blott is going back on his word; he said the NUJ remains involved in these redundancies.”

While the dispute rumbles on, the Sunday Herald is understood to be preparing dummy issues for a new look, being launched a week on Sunday – which is expected to see existing supplements merged into the main body of the paper.

Yesterday, Holleran also took up an invitation to speak to officials from the trade union, Amicus, at the Herald’s print plant in Cambuslang, near Glasgow.

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