As reported as breaking news yesterday afternoon, two dozen journalists at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail have been made compulsorily redundant as the company merges production of the two titles. And it has resulted in a mass meeting of NUJ members at the papers deciding to escalate strike action that had begun at the weekend.
“I’ve never known, in all my time as an union organiser, people be so angry,” said the National Union of Journalists’ Scottish Organiser, Paul Holleran, last night. “At the The Herald [when, in December, it announced everyone was at risk of redundancy and invited to apply for around 40 fewer posts] it was more shock, but here it’s anger, and it’s extreme. There are accusations of people being gleefully told they are losing their job.”
The ‘tap on the shoulder’ took place throughout the day, and the NUJ chapel at the papers met at 4pm to discuss a response. A 24-hour walkout starting tomorrow midnight had been scheduled for over a week, following similar industrial action last weekend. But that has been joined by a 48-hour strike being agreed for next week. In between the walkouts is a work to rule.
In February, publishers, Trinity Mirror, said it was looking to cull up to 70 posts. Around 33 or 34 applications for voluntary redundancy have already been agreed and it is believed the 24 facing – in the parlance – ‘the risk of redundancy’ brings this round of job cutting to a close.
A NUJ ballot for industrial action – and the subsequent walkout – was prompted by fears that management would press on with compulsory redundancies to fill the gap between voluntary redundancies and what the publishers were looking for. It is understood 22 of the 24 are NUJ members and the redundancy terms are twice the statutory minimum.
Yesterday, the NUJ chapel also agreed to pass a motion of no confidence in the papers’ managing director, Mark Hollinshead, and head of human resources, Lesley Somerville.
Added Holleran: “There’s real disgust at the manner people were told they were losing their job. The meeting has called on the company to retract the compulsory redundancies and has called on the whole of the NUJ