NUJ chapels being surveyed on possible ballot over publishers’ pension plans

NATIONALl Union of Journalists’ officials at newspapers owned throughout the UK by The Scotsman’s publishers, Johnston Press, are being asked whether there should be a ballot on industrial action in protest at proposed changes to the company’s pension scheme.

Last month, Johnston Press announced it was intending to replace its final salary pension scheme with another, financially less onerous alternative, for the 15 per cent of its staff eligible to have their pension calculated as a portion (depending on length of service) of their salary during their final year working for the company. Several years ago, new staff were no longer offered a pension based on such a calculation, the final year salary scheme considered to be the most generous for staff.

Already, several NUJ officials – including Scottish Organiser, Paul Holleran – have met Johnston Press management, to register their opposition to the proposed switch.

And now NUJ head office has begun sounding out NUJ chapels, including in Scotland, for their views on whether to call for an industrial action ballot.

Holleran told “Our members are angry at the serious financial situation the company is in because of the strategy of exapnsion through aquisitions by senior executives of Johnston Press.

“NUJ members have co-operated with new technology, redundancies and restructuring but now are being asked to accept the scrapping of the final salary pension scheme and take another pay freeze, so it is not a surprise to me that there is a demand from certain areas for a ballot to explore industrial action.”