Health and Safety rep. Damien Shields and FoC Sean Guthrie eventually got their hands on the Frank Maguire Award for Health and Safety delivered by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to the NUJ at the STUC earlier this month.
Following seven consecutive years of redundancies, severely affecting staffing levels at Newsquest titles The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times, the NUJ chapel changed tack. Working with the NUJ organisers they introduced a health and safety approach to handling the stresses and pressures on remaining editorial staff. The involvement of the chapel in directly influencing new editorial structures and standing up to job cuts has changed industrial relations in the way the company and union work together. The threat of industrial action had indirectly led to the start up of The National, the daily title which suppports the independence campaign and at the same time an increase in the influence of the union in editorial areas. A much more constructive approach by a new management team also helped with the improved relations.
FoC Sean Guthrie said: ” We are chuffed to pick up this award. It is an example to union members and mangement as to how a more inclusive approach to restructuring can work. Everything for us is about health and safety, staffing levels, workloads, decent equipment and software and better communication between both sides all add up to a better workplace. Pay is another area which can stress people out and we are hopeful of engaging with the management in the next few weeks to explore the introduction of a new salary structure.”