Up to 250 staff at the Glasgow-based newspaper group Newsquest – which publishes the Evening Times, The Herald and Sunday Herald – have been informed today that they will be forced to re-apply for their positions.
The newspaper publisher has made all its journalists and publishing staff redundant, inviting them to re-apply for their jobs.
The Herald and Times Group, informed up to 250 staff of its decision earlier this afternoon. Around 210 are likely to be rehired if they agree to new terms and conditions, meaning at least 40 job losses.
In a statement, managing director Tim Blott said: "We are creating an efficient operation fit for the 21st Century which will provide even more compelling and unique content for readers of all three titles and our websites.
"We are committed to producing vibrant and relevant newspapers and websites and see a bright future for The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times and their digital versions."
Speaking to the BBC The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) described the move as a "brutal attempt at forcing changes".
The news comes just 24 hours after Donald Martin, editor of The Evening Times was appointed as editor-in-chief at The Herald Group.
It is thought that staff will now work across its titles and will agree to new working terms and conditions if rehired.
The full media statement released by Newsquest is published below:
Herald & Times Group sets modernisation plan
Scotland's leading multimedia publisher today announced an ambitious plan to secure its digital future and weather the severe economic storm affecting the British media industry.
The Herald & Times Group publishes The Herald, Evening Times and Sunday Herald and their associated web sites and various magazines. It also runs a printing business and owns the internet advertising company s1.
The group said in a statement that it will merge certain newspaper staffs under new Editor-in-Chief Donald Martin to increase efficiency and make full use of state-of-the art news production technology now being rolled out. Staff numbers will be reduced as part of the restructuring across the company.
Managing director Tim Blott said: "We are creating an efficient operation fit for the 21st century which will provide even more compelling and unique content for readers of all three titles and our web sites.
"We are committed to producing vibrant and relevant newspapers and web sites and see a bright future for The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times and their digital versions.
“A strong indigenous press is vital for diversity of opinion and democracy in Scotland," he said.
“Regrettable industrial action this week by members of the National Union of Journalists at the titles makes the need for radical change even more urgent as we work to secure the future of the business and as many jobs as possible,” he added.
As part of the transformation of the business, journalists on all three titles are being made redundant and invited to re-apply for jobs in the new structure.
A new management structure will also be put in place with the Editor-in-Chief coordinating coverage across all three titles in line with modern media industry practice.