Voluntary redundancies back on at Herald group

AROUND 40 journalists at the Herald group of newspapers have been told they can now apply to leave, after being told last week that their successful applications for voluntary redundancy had been put on hold.

This latest twist in staff re-organisation plans at the group – comprising The Herald, Sunday Herald (which is hosting a tenth birthday party on Sunday) and Evening Times – will, however, require applicants to sign away any rights to take legal action against the company.

Last month, the group had told all but a handful of its 250 staff they needed to re-apply for around 40 fewer jobs.

When it appeared that 37 had successfully applied for voluntary redundancy – with another ten or so waiting in the wings, as a second tranche – the company then said all voluntary redundancies had been put on hold because of an alleged breakdown in talks with the National Union of Journalists.

The company wanted three NUJ lay offficials to sign away their legal rights against the company, including any victimisation claims they might wish to take to industrial tribunal. It is understood two of them may be leaving the group today, though it’s not known under what terms.

Said Paul Holleran, Scottish Organiser at the NUJ: “We’ve opened up the process again and hopefully people who want out will be able to do so.”

Meanwhile, unconnected with the redundancy process at the group, the deputy editor of the Sunday Herald has handed in his notice to head up the corporate communications and marketing operation at North Lanarkshire Council.

Stephen Penman has been with the Sunday Herald for almost eight years and was sports editor of the paper until July when he was appointed deputy editor.