Journalists at Glasgow-based tabloids, the Daily Record and the Sunday Mail, are due to strike for a second time on Friday of this week.
Around 280 NUJ union members at the two papers took part in a solid strike last Saturday. They are also enforcing an indefinite work to rule.
Following weeks of unproductive talks – and management’s refusal to consider dozens of volunteers for redundancy as an alternative to forcing through at least 20 compulsory cuts – the NUJ chapel (workplace branch) voted by 85 percent for strike action.
The chapel is also resisting plans to force through an unpaid increase in working hours, as well as damaging cuts to the Trinity Mirror pension scheme – all on top of the group-wide pay freeze.
NUJ Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said, “The mood among the journalists is that they have no option but to continue with industrial action.”
Trinity Mirror bosses blame dwindling profits, rising costs and the effects of the recession for these cuts. In a message to staff on the eve of last week’s strike, Record and Mail managing director Mark Hollinshead spoke of “a time of economic crisis and cataclysmic change in the newspaper industry”.
Yet the Sunday Mail is Scotland’s biggest selling newspaper, with just under 444,000 readers and the Daily Record made profits of between £15 and £18 million last year.
Over the last year, media companies have sacked thousands of workers across Britain.
Around 20 percent of all journalists working in local newspapers have been made redundant in just nine months.
In a submission to the Office of Fair Trading this week, the NUJ calls for new owners to be allowed to take over newspapers and replace the handful of media proprietors and asset-stripping owners who refuse to maintain a decent local news service.
The union says it is a “chilling prospect” that “media owners with such an attitude to local news might be allowed a virtual monopoly control of newspapers across whole swathes of the country”.