Picture emerges of intensive work regimes at pair of Scots publishing groups

A PICTURE of intensive work regimes has emerged from a survey of staff at two of Scotland’s leading newspaper publishers.

It follows a stress survey having been conducted by the National Union of Journalists at both Johnston Press (Scotland) and Scottish Provincial Press.

At Johnston Press – which publishes, among others, The Scotsman and the Falkirk Herald – there was a 54 per cent response among NUJ members. Meanwhile, at Scottish Provincial Press – which publishes, among others, the Highland News and the John O’Groat Journal – there was a 76 per cent one.

At both groups, staff declare, in the majority, a high workload.

The NUJ assistant organiser in Scotland, Dominic Bascombe, is quoted on HoldtheFrontPage website, as saying of the survey results: “We have got journalists who know the job and know what they have to do but they are facing these pressures and are having to work faster and very intensively.

“People feel that things are changing but they are not being consulted or being part of that.”

The website – which says it is still awaiting a response from Johnston Press – also quotes David Bourn, editorial director at SPP, as saying: “At [a] meeting [with] the NUJ, [it] acknowledged that there was no long-hours culture at SPP, we are the only media group in Scotland not to have made any journalists redundant during the recession and the only media group in Scotland to have consistently paid annual salary increases.”

A similar survey is being conducted now at Clyde and Forth Press, with BBC Scotland Newsquest Glasgow in the pipeline.

The Johnston Press findings included the following:

I am subject to personal harassment in the form of unkind words or behaviour

Never 41.7 per cent

Seldom 30.6 per cent

Sometimes 13.9 per cent

Often 13.9 per cent

Always zero per cent

I have unachievable deadlines

Never 8.3 per cent

Seldom 36.1 per cent

Sometimes 30.6 per cent

Often 22.2 per cent

Always 2.8 per cent

I have to work very intensively

Never zero per cent

Seldom zero per cent

Sometimes 19.4 per cent

Often 55.6 per cent

Always 25.0 per cent

I am pressured to work long hours

Never 14.3 per cent

Seldom 17.1 per cent

Sometimes 34.3 per cent

Often 25.7 per cent

Always 8.6 per cent

Do you have difficulty coping with your current workload?

Yes 58.8 per cent

No 41.2 per cent

The Scottish Provincial Press findings included the following:

I am subject to personal harassment in the form of unkind words or behaviour

Never 53.8 per cent

Seldom 30.8 per cent

Sometimes 11.5 per cent

Often zero per cent

Always 3.8  per cent

I have unachievable deadlines

Never 3.8 per cent

Seldom 38.5 per cent

Sometimes 42.3 per cent

Often 11.5 per cent

Always 3.8 per cent

I have to work very intensively

Never zero per cent

Seldom zero per cent

Sometimes zero per cent

Often 46.2 per cent

Always 53.8 per cent

I have to neglect some tasks because I have too much to do

Never zero per cent

Seldom 3.8 per cent

Sometimes 57.7 per cent

Often 15.4 per cent

Always 23.1 per cent

I am pressured to work long hours

Never 15.4 per cent

Seldom 11.5 per cent

Sometimes 42.3 per cent

Often 15.4 per cent

Always 15.4 per cent

Staff are always consulted about change at work

Strongly disagree 34.6 per cent

Disagree 38.5 per cent

Neutral 11.5 per cent

Agree 15.4 per cent

Strongly agree zero per cent

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