NUJ disputes staff reorganisation ‘finalised’ claim at Herald Group

THE National Union of Journalists is claiming that contrary to reports – including on allmediascotland.com – that staff reorganisation at the Herald group of papers has been finalised, it is, instead, a “shambles”.

On Monday, allmediascotland reported a staff memo from the group’s editor-in-chief, Donald Martin, who said: “We are delighted to announce we have now finalised our group editorial restructuring plan and all outstanding contracts and job offers will be issued by early next week.”

In December, all but a handful of the group’s 250 editorial workforce were invited to apply for around 40 fewer posts. As Martin’s memo was being issued, a list identifying all those who had successfully applied for voluntary redundancy was also circulated, though it is understood to be missing some names, including John McCann, a reporter at the Evening Times who was the NUJ’s Father of Chapel at the paper.

But the NUJ’s Scottish Organiser, Paul Holleran, says he was yesterday inundated by worried and angry staff still uncertain about their future. So far, no-one has been compulsorily redundant, but of eleven applicants still hoping for voluntary redundancy, Holleran says he believes five are off work, ill with stress.

Among the complaints Holleran says he has received include contracts (ie job offers) still not received, lack of information about shift rotas, and senior staff being seemingly demoted in favour of less experienced ones.

He said: “We did well to avoid compulsory redundancies, but people now are finding that jobs they are being offered don’t reflect what they were led to believe. The company has moved on pay bands and the number of senior posts. Some people are considering legal action. It’s a shambles. We’ve been inundated with calls and emails. I would say the redundancy process is far from over.”

Holleran says he is further frustrated by news yesterday that two posts may be going from the group’s successful S1 website platform. “We were led to believe there was no money available for any more voluntary redundancies [the eleven applications still pending] and then they make a mockery of it by doing this.”