THE Scottish arm of the National Union of Journalists is, this week, seeking to continue talks with the publishers of The Scotsman newspaper, in an attempt to avoid planned redundancies becoming compulsory.
But efforts to prevent compulsory job losses at both the Scotsman group and among some of Johnston Press’s Scottish weekly titles are taking place at the same time as the union – UK-wide – announcing an unanimous vote of no confidence in Johnston’s senior management.
It follows a meeting of union reps from across Johnston Press’s main publishing centres. The company is currently consulting staff over planned job cuts in Sheffield and Northampton – as well as in Scotland. Affected in Scotland are the Glasgow East News and the Ayrshire Extra, which both face closure.
Says the NUJ: “As redundancies, recruitment freezes, budget cuts, title and office closures and the axing of freelances hit Johnston Press newsrooms across the UK and Ireland, the NUJ is to stage a co-ordinated, group-wide day of actions to highlight the damage being done to local papers.”
Adds NUJ General Secretary, Jeremy Dear: “A tipping point has been reached – and the latest cuts are now threatening the very future of the papers. If you continue to deny resources for editorial you inevitably produce worse products and why would businesses advertise in or readers buy such products.
“The strategy of cut, cut, cut in editorial budgets has been shown to be a failure and it’s time it was reversed. Shareholders should be fearful for their investments and local communities should fear for the future of their papers.
“We won’t sit back and allow jobs and quality journalism to be threatened. The mood amongst our members is one of determination to actively oppose cuts which damage quality, lead to increased workloads, threaten the future of the titles and put at risk more jobs.”