Members of the National Union of Journalists at the Herald & Times Group – publishers of The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times newspapers – have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in protest at compulsory redundancies.
Ballot papers returned by members delivered a 91 per cent vote in favour of industrial action, short of strike action, such as a 'work to rule' and a withdrawal of goodwill and flexible working. In addition, some 78 per cent of respondents said they were in favour of strike action.
A work to rule is set to begin from a week on Monday. The NUJ chapel at the papers will choose whether to join colleagues in England who are scheduled to go on strike on the sixth and seventh of next month at papers owned by the same parent company, Newsquest.
Said Paul Holleran, the NUJ's Scottish Organiser: “There has been the suggestion to co-ordinate with the strike action due on the sixth and seventh in England, but it is for the chapel to decide.”
Some six journalists and an editorial administrator have been singled out for compulsory redundancy, on top of a further half dozen who have applied for voluntary redundancy. All but one of the six journalists chosen for compulsory redundancy had appeals against the decision heard at the beginning of the week by the company and rejected.
Meanwhile, a former Scottish correspondent for Sky News, who has been with the Herald & Times Group as a training editor, is not having his contract renewed by the newspaper publishers.
Also a previous editor of the Geneva Post newspaper in Switzerland, Charles Fletcher has been on contract since January two years ago and, among other things, helped the development of the group's multimedia content, including video on the going-out guide, Times Out Live!, and the podcasts, CultureCast and SportCast.
He told allmediascotland: “I'm naturally disappointed with the decision. I've had three great years at the Herald & Times. The people are among the best I've ever worked with.”
Fletcher is credited with creating an unique editorial training scheme at the group, offering training and paid shifts to emerging young journalists. He also trained staff in the use of a new editorial production system, Atex.