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Scottish newspaper company lays off all staff, asks them to re-apply under new terms

Scottish newspaper company lays off all staff, asks them to re-apply under new terms

The Newsquest-owned Herald and Times group in Scotland has made all its 250 journalists and publishing staff redundant and asked them to re-apply for their jobs. The Glasgow-based company, which publishes the Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times announced this on December 3, according to the Scotsman newspaper.

About 30-40 staff, 17 per cent of journalists, are expected to be cut as the company merges all edi torial departments on its three titles. The staff have been told they are on 90 days' notice and that only 210 of them can be rehired if they agree to new terms and conditions. The jobs losses at the Herald come in the backdrop of 70 being laid off at BBC Scotland in Glasgow, which includes as many as 20 in the news and current affairs department.

Paul Holleran, the Scottish organiser of UK's National Union of Journalists (NUJ), has described the move as a "brutal attempt at forcing changes". NUJ has suspended action planned for this week prior to a meeting with the group heads.

Holleran, according to the Scotsman, said of the announcement: "This is a brutal attempt at forcing changes which can only cause major problems in these titles. There are changes taking place across the media industry, with redundancies and new technology being introduced. Every other media employer in Scotland is working with the union to try to handle these changes in a civilised manner."

US media company Gannett, which owns Newsquest, Holleran said, had "lied through their teeth" when they bought the three titles in 2003. He told the Independent: "They said they recognised the standing that the newspapers had and how important they were to the Scottish people, but their actions totally belie that. I think it's a brutal way of doing things. If they wanted to make redundancies, why didn't they do what other newspapers have done? They should be looking at retraining and redeployment.

The announcement came just a day after Donald Martin, Editor of the Evening Times, was appointed editor-in-chief of the group, according to the Times of London. In a statement, Tim Blott, managing director, said: “We are creating an efficient operation fit for the 21st century, which will provide even more compelling and unique content for readers of our three titles and our websites.”

Date posted: December 5, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 263