The Scotsman has been accused of ‘shafting freelancers’ after contributors to the paper were sent controversial new contracts.
The contracts - copies of which are below - grant sole licence of freelance work to the Scotsman for up to four months, even if freelancers do not sign up.
“You will be deemed to have accepted these conditions even if you do not sign and return this contract,” the contract states.
The contract also says that the paper “shall not be required to credit you on any other use or reproduction of the work.”
Paul Holleran, NUJ Scotland organiser, accused the Scotsman of grabbing rights and shafting freelancers.
"Editors are under growing pressure to fill their papers and online editions and I understand that pressure. However newspaper employers can’t continue on this downward spiral of cutting editorial staff jobs while at the same time shafting freelancers.
“In the current climate this is a group of journalists that they will have to increasingly rely for copy and images, but if they don’t pay a proper rate for the job and try and grab all rights then freelancers can’t survive in our industry. We have been contacted by a number of freelance contributors who are disgusted and angry at this new contract from Johnston Press and the NUJ have been asked to step in and seek discussions with the company on this situation.”
Johnston Press has cut hundreds of staff at the Scotsman group since buying the paper over a decade ago. Earlier this year, the regional publisher announced that it was is seeking to cut more than a dozen staff from the Scotsman, Scotsman on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News.
In 2014, the Scotsman left its purpose-built £20 million sandstone and glass offices in the shadow of the Scottish Parliament as part of another round of cost-cutting. Rockstar North, creators of Grand Theft Auto, took over the lease. That same year Johnston Press chief executive, Ashley Highfield, was paid £1.65 million.
Johnston Press has been approached for comment.