Applications for voluntary redundancy have “opened” at Glasgow-based daily, The Herald and its sister publication, The Herald Sun.
The owner, Newsquest, states that it will have “little alternative” but to look at compulsory redundancies unless enough people come forward by Monday. In a message to staff, editor in chief, Donald Martin, said he was in the “regrettable position” of having to consider implementing cost-saving measures at the titles.
Newsquest did not confirm the number of roles it is looking to make redundant, but it is understood news reporting staff would be at risk should compulsory redundancies be implemented.
Donald said: “As you are no doubt aware the company faces challenging market conditions with both newspaper sales and print advertising continuing to decline. Although we are making significant progress in our digital transformation, the revenues gained are not yet enough to offset print declines.
“As a result, we need to find further cost and efficiency savings in our budget for 2020 to minimize the impact on profitability. The company is, therefore, in the regrettable position of having to consider implementing cost-saving measures across the editorial functions of The Herald and Herald on Sunday.”
He went on: “Although we have made major savings through recent non-replacement of staff, we remain significantly short of the level of savings required. Having already reduced most freelance and agency contracts in the previous budget cuts, there is a very real prospect that there is little alternative but to look at compulsory redundancies across The Herald and Herald on Sunday unless we receive and accept a number of VR applications or requests to reduce hours/days.”
A spokesman for Newsquest added, “The environment for news publishers remains very challenging, given in particular the very substantial loss of revenue to other digital advertising platforms.
“At Newsquest Scotland, we are focused on ensuring that news brands have a sustainable future. We continue to restructure how we operate to ensure we work as efficiently as possible across the business. Whilst these potential redundancies are regrettable, it means we can continue to invest in quality journalism for many years to come.”