TWO leading NUJ FoCs will sign themselves out of employment with Newsquest on Monday afternoon. Ian Bruce and John McCann refused to apply for any of the so-called "new posts" and have also agreed to withdraw their tribunal claim for trade union victimisation after the union negotiated a deal on their behalf. After they sign compromise agreements they will receive a confidential financial settlement and await their redundancy cheques.
The position of those members on the second list of volunteers will become clearer after the meeting with the lawyer. It is believed that around six further members are seeking advice as to potential legal action, although that number will grow if the management attempt to deny the remaining volunteers redundancy on the agreed terms.
No doubt you will glad to hear that we have made progress in the latest talks with Newsquest management. Not as much as I would have liked, but let's not get carried away. The situation regarding two of the FoCs has been resolved.
The position is that members on the first list of volunteers, will be offered the chance to leave early (at dates to be agreed between each individual and management). Those wishing to leave early will be offered a compromise agreement to sign (through the NUJ lawyers) containing all figures and entitlements, but restricting those individuals from taking follow up legal action against the company.
Payments will be calculated up to and including the leaving date (not to March 3rd).
If there are not enough people applying for that option then individuals on the second list will be given the opportunity to apply on the same terms. Management will choose who can go early if there are too many wishing to take advantage of this option.
Those individuals who have already intimated early leaving dates eg 26th February will have those dates honoured.
No-one can be forced to leave or stay beyond March 3rd although there may be slight difficulty with cash flow for Newsquest with so many people above the budgeted figure making their exit.
Our legal advice is that it will be a breach of contract if management attempt to reduce the redundancy terms to statutory for anyone (refusing the offer of an opportunity to apply for a post on worse conditions).
We intend holding a meeting with the lawyer to deal with the compromise agreements or otherwise within the week. Those members affected will be invited to attend.
If there are any other questions do not hesitate to contact me.
NUJ Scottish Organiser