Half a dozen editorial staff at the Herald & Times Group have been told they have been selected for compulsory redundancy.
According to sources, one by one, each person was called to the office of editor-in-chief, Jonathan Russell, to be told they had failed to score highly enough in an internal assessment process, and have been selected for compulsory redundancy, to join half a dozen applicants for voluntary redundancy, as part of cost-cutting measures announced a month ago.
Members of the National Union of Journalists at the group – which includes The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times newspapers – are receiving ballot papers, asking for their views on whether to stage strike action or industrial actions short of strike action, such as a work-to-rule.
Yesterday, allmediascotland speculated on the atmosphere at the papers as individuals received a phone call summoning them to Russell's office. At the time of writing, three people had been told they were at risk of compulsory redundancy, with one – Barry McDonald, who works in features – 'tweeting' of his fate almost immediately on being told. At the time, it was believed the process was lasting about half an hour per person.
Last week, as reported on allmediascotland, an original target of “about ten” editorial staff cuts was increased to “around 13″, with six applicants for voluntary redundancy already agreed.
By the end of the day, the individuals chosen were, in addition to McDonald, from news reporting, a Westminster correspondent, a sub-editor, a photographer and a video journalist. All are expected to appeal at hearings scheduled for probably Monday and Tuesday.
Some have 'Facebooked' their fate. Photographer, Lenny Warren, announced being among those chosen, saying he “is now a freelance photographer; any work?”. Similarly on Facebook, Graeme Murray wrote: “Is looking for shifts. I can clean houses, serve in a bar. Oh and I've 13 years experience as journalist.”
allmediascotland has decided only to make public the names of those picked who make it public themselves.