STAFF at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail have been invited to apply for voluntary redundancy, with management declining to say exactly how much money they are seeking to save or how many posts might be axed.
On Friday, an email was sent asking for voluntary redundancy applications by a week on Friday. In the immediate wake of the announcement, it was being rumoured that 35 posts were at risk, with senior management countering they had no specific number in mind.
Tough economic conditions were cited as the reason for invitation, as had been the case two days’ previously when it was revealed there was to be a pay freeze until at least the end of next year – albeit with a bonus scheme in place to incentivise staff to reach for as yet unpublished targets.
In the email, managing director, Mark Hollinshead, said: “Every penny saved, every extra newspaper sold and every new centimetre of advertising published is critically important if we are to ensure our future health. There is no monopoly on ideas as everyone has a part to play in the protection of our organisation against this economic storm.
“We have a great and resilient business but, together with almost every organisation in the UK, we need to weave our way through this challenging economic maze. I look forward to working with you to ensure that is exactly what we do.”
Paul Holleran, Scottish Organiser of the National Union of Journalists, described the announcement as more evidence that “there is a major crisis in the newspaper industry”.
His remarks followed a meeting at The Scotsman where three staff in the newspaper’s imaging suite are facing compulsory redundancy. His hope is that the trio will be redeployed on the paper’s picture desk, where long working hours are said to be not uncommon.
Recently, NUJ members at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail ‘worked-to-rule’ as a protest against perceived under-staffing.
Said Holleran: “The work-to-rule was called off because management realised they are dependent on the goodwill of staff and so said they would sit down with the NUJ and work out how best to deal with these undoubtedly tough times. There are major concerns about falling revenue, no doubt about it.”
A new editorial production system is to be introduced at the papers, which will have an impact on staffing needs.
Holleran added: “The NUJ are keen to work with managements who are taking a more civilised approach to this crisis. However, we will continue to oppose compulsory redundancies.”