BETWEEN 15 and 20 redundancies are being predicted at the Herald group of newspapers, following the planned introduction of a new production system that will see, among other things, a central news hub operating for all three of the group’s titles: The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times.
Also on the cards is a single website for all the titles, with the decision being made that, with the exception of exclusives, all stories will be put on to the internet whenever they happen, instead of having to wait (as is the case now) until after the newspapers have been printed.
The new system will result in some posts no longer being required, but redundancies are expected to be only voluntary – not least because of the industrial muscle shown by staff just four months ago, including various walk-outs, when there was a threat of compulsory redundancy.
Said Paul Holleran, the Scottish Organiser of the National Union of Journalists: “Management are saying that the change will be evolutionary, but the way they described it was quite revolutionary. They appear to be trying to take the workforce with them this time, but my experience of new systems being implemented is that it is never an easy process. It will have to be done right.”
The new system could be in place as early as December and it prompted half a dozen speeches, yesterday, to staff by various senior managers at the papers, including Herald editor, Charles McGhee, Sunday Herald, Richard Walker, and Evening Times editor, Donald Martin.