A SCOTTISH LABOUR leadership contender has given his support to a campaign aimed at saving jobs at the publishers of the Northern Scot and Forres Gazette.
It was revealed earlier this week that a petition had been raised by Moray councillor Sean Morton calling on Scottish Provincial Press, owners of the two leading Moray weekly titles, to reverse plans to sack 12 production workers in Elgin, Inverness, Wick and Golspie by outsourcing their work to India.
The petition is, however, being ignored with the managing director of the SPP group insisting it was a “sensible business decision”.
Thelma Henderson said the business had to evolve by replacing many of their traditional revenue streams, adding: “Scottish Provincial Press has a strong business model which is performing well beyond industry expectations. The traditional newspaper and magazine publishing business model, however, is evolving with the transfer of many traditional revenue streams to digital alternatives.”
Last night Scottish Labour leadership contender Ken Macintosh MSP hit out at the decision. He said: “The news that Scottish Provincial Press are considering outsourcing jobs to India is bad for the Highlands and bad for the wider Scottish economy too.
“These are good, high-quality, skilled jobs in an industry which has had years of dedicated service from the people of the Scottish Highlands.
“Like so many issues, I fear the Scottish Government may have taken their eye off the ball. While of course we must promote new investment, we equally need a Government which provides support to existing employers in every part of Scotland.
“I want to hear less talk about the powers we don’t have and more action using the economic tools we do. There should be fewer grants for tax avoiding multi-nationals and more support for existing Scottish based companies who need help in tough times.”
Mr Macintosh has signed the online petition launched by Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Sean Morton, which had last night attracted over 350 signatures.
Councillor Morton said he was grateful for Mr Macintosh’s support, saying that the reason many had signed the petition was that they “felt strongly that local papers should champion local jobs – not ship them over to India”.
He added: “The simple truth here is that this company want to call themselves a local champion but not champion local jobs.
“It’s not that these jobs are no longer required – they just want them done thousands of miles from here by people with fewer rights and who cost far less to employ than local people.
“It’s not what you expect from a local company who have criticised local job cuts time and time again.
“How can this be the same company that rallied to save RAF Lossiemouth? It’s simple – if they want to retain the trust of local people they must stay true to their values and put their money where their mouth is. Local paper – local jobs.”