Fears for up to 30 job losses at the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday as Johnston Press restructures

Up to 30 editorial jobs are understood to be under threat at The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday due to further restructuring plans from Johnston Press, the Guardian has reported.

Managing director of Johnston Press, Stuart Birkett, said: "Following an organisational review, The Scotsman Publications Ltd is proposing a restructure which could result in a reduction of staff within the editorial department. The aim of these proposals is to improve operating efficiency, whilst maintaining the company’s competitive position in the market.

"We have started the consultation process directly with those affected and the NUJ, and every effort will be made to minimise the impact of these proposals through voluntary redundancy and redeployment."

The Guardian reported the cuts could mean up to a third of the editorial staff at the two newspapers could be facing job losses, although Johnston Press would not confirm the reports.

The former Scottish minister for environment and climate change, Stewart Stevenson, tweeted: "Scotsman job losses of course NOT down to the journalists. At a difficult time they have my sympathy."

Earlier in the month Johnston Press released figures reporting a fall in net debt from £351.7m at the end of 2011 to £319.4m in 2012 and said good progress had been made in "the process of transforming the group". However, head of publishing at the NUJ, Barry Fitzpatrick, said the company's jobs figures were concerning: "The figures for Johnston Press may look encouraging, but the loss of jobs – nearly a quarter of the workforce -- between 2011 and 2012 is a great cause for concern, as is the fall in circulation of papers which have gone from being dailies to weeklies.

"While it is good that the group is making in-roads into the company’s debt, the future of the group will be in real jeopardy if more job cuts are made. Readers will notice if quality falls as a result."

The Scotsman's ABC figures for January showed a year-on-year fall of 17.5 per cent, while Scotland on Sunday recorded substantial a year-on-year decline of 24 per cent.

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Angela Haggerty

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