Managers at TGO’s publishing company have climbed down in the face of a legal challenge by the National Union of Journalists over the suspension of one of their officers.
Newsquest, owners of the outdoors magazine, reinstated Gordon Thomson, deputy father of chapel (workplace representative) after what it claims was a misunderstanding.
The reporter was suspended after refusing to obey an order to attend a meeting at which he understood he might have been disciplined, unless he was accompanied by a colleague, as permitted by employment law.
Now, Donald Martin, editor of the Evening Times, a sister publication of The Great Outdoors, has told staff the meeting was informal and was not a disciplinary hearing. Martin says he is happy to ‘put this issue behind us’. The union had written a letter to managing director Tim Blott demanding Thomson’s immediate reinstatement and threatening to take out an interim interdict – the Scottish law equivalent of an injunction – unless this happened.
The dispute at the Glasgow editorial offices has become increasingly bitter after the strike by 200 members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), including members on TGO, which badly affected production of papers. The NUJ plans further action this weekend in pursuit of the dispute, which centres on £3m-worth of cuts and compulsory redundancies.
In the middle of the dispute, the management at Newsquest, which is owned by American media giant Gannett, tore up a recognition agreement with the NUJ, which puts conciliation procedures in limbo.
Trade unionists and members of the Scottish National Party had called for a boycott of the company’s publications if Thomson was not allowed back to his desk.