NUJ members to decide on possible strike action against Herald group

POSSIBLE strike action at The Herald newspaper – and sister titles, the Sunday Herald and Evening Times – is to be decided later today by members of the National Union of Journalists.

A mass meeting of NUJ members is taking place this afternoon, to decide whether to escalate a work-to-rule which began on Monday in protest at six compulsory redundancies among editorial staff in the run-up to Christmas.

A recent ballot of NUJ members at the papers delivered a 91 per cent vote in favour of industrial action short of strike action and a 78 per cent vote for industrial action including strike action.

In November, the papers’ owners announced it was looking to axe posts as part of a cost-cutting drive, insodoing appealing for applications for voluntary redundancy. When not enough volunteers came forward, staff were then assessed for compulsory redundancy.

Should strike action be agreed by the meeting, to be further decided will be its exact form – for instance, a walk-out – and its duration, with both tomorrow and Friday being mooted.

Paul Holleran, the NUJ’s Scottish Organiser, told “We have called a meeting to allow the chapel to discuss that next steps in the dispute. The work-to-contract is underway and will have an immediate impact. There are not enough journalists to produce these three titles without people working excessive hours and the work-to-contract will show the management position to be unsustainable. Our lawyers are putting the claims together and it is going to cost the company more than it would take to settle this dispute.”

Any strike action would synchronise with protests being experienced by The Herald’s UK parent company, Newsquest, at a number of its other newspaper titles, south of the border.