Having seen off the threat of a mass staff walkout in the UK over the introduction of Atex, Johnston Press is now facing a similar prospect ahead of the adoption of the controversial content management system on its titles in the Republic of Ireland.
The National Union of Journalists has served notice on Johnston that it intends to hold a one-day strike in protest over proposed job cuts which would coincide with the adoption of Atex on its Irish papers.
Union members on the Limerick Leader, Leinster Leader, Leinster Express, Offaly Express and Clonmel Nationalist have voted to walk out next Tuesday.
Nicola Coleman, NUJ Irish Organiser, said: ‘This strike is about protecting employment but it is also about defending journalistic standards.
‘The experience of this union in the UK is that the new system and reduced staffing levels have led to chaos – the results have been disastrous publications.
‘Papers have been sent to print with pictures missing, wrong headlines and serious subbing errors.
‘In one case, the barcode was not printed so shops could not sell that edition.
‘Some titles in the UK had to re-employ casual staff following the cuts when newsrooms could not cope with the workload.
‘NUJ members in Ireland are determined to protect journalists and newspapers from a similar fate.”
Earlier this year lawyers for the UK’s second largest regional newspaper publisher managed to block a group-wide strike by journalists unhappy about staff cuts and the introduction of the new content management system on papers in England.
The NUJ said it has asked Johnston Press to remove the threats to jobs until after Atex is introduced when staffing levels can be assessed properly.
Talks are scheduled to take place between the company and the union in Naas on Friday.