MSPs to Debate Herald Reorganisation

Members of the Scottish Parliament are tomorrow to debate the proposed shake-up of staffing at the Herald group of newspapers – where everyone has been made redundant, ahead of being invited to apply for fewer jobs, as part of a merged production of the group’s three titles: The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times.

On their first day back from their Christmas and New Year holiday, MSPs will be debating a motion proposed by SNP MSP, Sandra White.

It reads: “That the Parliament condemns the announcement that all staff at The Herald and Evening Times in Glasgow will be made redundant and have to re-apply for their jobs under new terms and conditions, which it believes will inevitably leave them worse off, and further believes that this reorganisation will have a damaging effect on editorial independence among the titles and should be re-evaluated.”

Yesterday, the Herald group’s managing director, Tim Blott, met with Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism at the Scottish Parliament, plus the SNP’s media spokesperson, Peter Wishart MP. Afterwards, Wishart declared himself “unhappy” with the outcome.

He told “We [Jim Mather and myself] robustly urged Tim Blott to consider a different, negotiated solution to the current industrial situation at the Herald group. He, equally robustly, said there was no alternative. I felt that for him to negotiate with the NUJ would require them first sacrificing the current terms and conditions, which is too much to ask for. I am very unhappy. There is no place for industrial relations of this type in 21st century Scotland. It’s like a return to those unhappy days of the 1980s and Wapping.”

Comment: I read with interest the article regarding the fact that the Scottish Parliament is to debate the ongoing situation at The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times.

I was also saddened by the response to the Scottish Ministers who met Mr Blott. Mr Wishart talked of going back to the days of Wapping. He could also throw in the Press and Journal dispute.

I was General Secretary of the NUJ during both disputes and witnessed the personal suffering NUJ members and their families went through because of the sackings.

Our MSPs should tackle two seperate