The decision to merge the editorial teams of Scotland’s flagship title The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News has been described as a “great shock” by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The NUJ’s national organiser in Scotland, Paul Holleran, described the move as “disastrous” and said the union had so far managed to negotiate improved redundancy terms with publisher Johnston Press but that efforts would continue to secure the best deal for staff. Up to 45 jobs are understood to be at risk.
Johnston Press announced the decision to merge the papers’ editorial teams on Wednesday, but said that all three titles would remain stand alone newspapers and retain identity.
Responding to the news, Holleran said: “The scale of these cuts has come as a great shock. The union is now in negotiations with the management and has already won improved redundancy terms and an increased time scale for the changes, and we intend to continue to get the best deal we can for members following this disastrous decision.”
Johnston Press has slashed jobs across its titles in the UK in recent years amid efforts to cut a huge debt burden and make the transition from traditional print news to digital. In July, it sold its Republic of Ireland titles to Iconic Newspapers for £7.2m, despite paying around £115m to acquire them nine years earlier.
A recent refinancing plan helped the publisher cut its debt repayment commitment, and results announced this week showed that the rate of revenue decline has slowed slightly from 4.3 per cent in the first half of the year to 3.1 per cent year-on-year for the period covering July to September.
However, the company warned that further cuts are still planned across the group as it continues with its plan to turn the business around.