Herald Group put on hold all voluntary redundancies

STAFF at the Herald group of newspapers who thought they were receiving voluntary redundancy, as part of a staff re-organisation announced last month, have been told they may not be leaving, after all.

In a memo, editor-in-chief, Donald Martin, writes of the “voluntary redundancy process being on hold”. Those who applied – they thought successfully – for voluntary redundancy are now being asked to apply for jobs they most probably have little appetite for.

Around 40 journalists, from a first tranche of applicants, had heard, almost two weeks ago, they had been successful, prompting a second tranche, of about ten, to submit their applications.

The National Union of Journalists say the company has taken umbrage at three lay union officials at the company – Ian Bruce (at The Herald), John McCann (at the Evening Times) and Gordon Thompson (also at the Evening Times) – declining to sign away their right to make a legal claim against it, and for no financial recompense.

From that first set of applicants, all but one was accepted, irrespective of the impact on editorial. Certainly, there have been concerns since about how few production journalists would have been left, had all the applications gone through.

Last month, all staff were told they had to re-apply for around 40 fewer posts at the group, which comprises The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times.

Writes Martin: “The voluntary redundancy process in editorial is on hold after talks with the NUJ broke down.”