Seven production and two photographer staff posts have been earmarked for redundancy as part of restructuring plans among the Scottish local newspapers owned by the publishers of the Daily Record.
The aim is to create a single production hub within the Scottish headquarters of Trinity Mirror, at Central Quay in Glasgow, devoted to the publishers' 17 local newspapers that operate under the name, Scottish & Universal Newspapers. A separate hub will be devoted to the production of the Daily Record, Sunday Mail and Paisley Daily Express.
In addition, it is also being announced that 12 'copy inputters' posts have been earmarked for redundancy “as more readers submit stories and pictures electronically”, but that seven new trainee reporting roles will be created for impacted staff.
Says Allan Rennie, editor-in-chief of Media Scotland (as Trinity Mirror's Scottish operation has been known since the end of last year), the move has been motivated by the introduction to a new production system and the “current economic storm”. ContentWatch is a web-based editorial publishing system that allows for production for print, online and tablet devices.
He writes: “As a result, we are embarking on a significant restructure and opening up a selective voluntary redundancy programme for all editorial staff employed by Scottish & Universal Newspapers Ltd.”
Being proposed is “a single editorial production hub in Central Quay to service all weekly titles including [free title] the Glaswegian. It is proposed that production staff currently based at Hamilton, Stirling, Kilmarnock and Ayr would transfer to Central Quay during July”.
There are no plans to physically close the offices of the local newspapers. They are to remain as home to 'reporters on the ground' and field sales staff.
The memo adds: “Each title will be relaunched with a new look, sharing the same design, fonts and colour libraries.”
And the plan is also that, of the titles that don't currently have their own, discrete editors, they are to each have one, operating as “brand ambassadors for our titles within the community”.
S&UN titles include the Dumfries & Galloway Standard, the Perthshire Advertiser, the Lennox Herald and the Hamilton Advertiser, along with the West Lothian Courier and the Stirling Observer.
It was earlier this year that the company announced plans to bring the production of its Paisley Daily Express title to within Central Quay as part of wider plans to close some of Media Scotland's outlying offices.
Adds Rennie, the voluntary package on offer is “enhanced, above the statutory minimum” and will be open to S&UN staff until the 29th of this month.
He told allmediascotland.com: “We are in consultation with staff and aim to achieve this restructure through voluntary means.”