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Paul Holleran: the end of an era

It’s the end of an era for the NUJ in Scotland with the departure of Scottish national organiser Paul Holleran.

After more than 20 years at the helm, Paul is going home to Liverpool to take up a fresh challenge playing a major role in health and safety training with the GMB.

Pictures by Mark Shields

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Newsquest slash more jobs

Newsquest want to slash 20% of editorial jobs in their Herald & Times group. This is the third round of redundancies in the group in the last ten months and staff say they are ready to take action to stop these latest cuts.
Incredibly this profitable company also intend cutting 20% of jobs in the Romanes Group, their new acquisition. This small but successful publisher have turned a deficit to a profit of over £4M in the last five years, using traditional methods of selling newspapers and advertising space. Owners of the Greenock Telegraph, Dunfermline Press and titles across Ayrshire and the central belt, they have not made any editorial redundancies in recent years but now face adapting to the Newsquest culture of meeting new budgets by cutting jobs and introducing damaging savings which will impact on editorial areas.
NUJ National organiser Paul Holleran said: “This treadmill of redundancies cannot continue. I have told Newsquest it is not sustainable to keep cutting jobs without putting a robust alternative structure in place. In response they have said they will be coming back to us again later in the year for a fundamental restructure in editorial areas and they wonder why people are so angry. They should just seek an interested buyer and sell the titles if their plan is to shrink the business to nothing.”
In a statutory letter to the union the company say that “newspaper revenues are declining and there is a need to cut cost and increase efficiency”. However staff have pointed out the current lack of efficiency with many journalists working excessive hours with serious problems with staffing levels and poor management.
An NUJ chapel meeting of staff working at The Herald, Evening Times and Sunday Herald have voted unanimously for a ballot for industrial action including strike action. Officials will now be travelling across Scotland to address chapels in the weekly titles based in Ardrossan, Clydebank and Dunfermline as well as the daily Greenock Telegraph. A similar response is expected in respect to balloting.