No confidence vote on Johnston Press MD

Journalists working for Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group have passed a motion of no confidence in their managing director, Helen Oldham.

Members of the National Union of Journalists chapel at the Johnston Press-owned publishing group claim to have taken the vote last week after being "kept in the dark" over possible changes to working conditions.

The vote is the latest development in a growing move by union members working for Johnston Press to resist the group-wide adoption of a new content management technology that allows reporters to write copy into template pages and reduces the need for sub-editors.

Last week, the NUJ said it was preparing to hold a group-wide ballot on possible industrial action over the introduction of the Atex system and concerns about low staffing levels.

Journalists at the Johnston Press-owned Blackpool Gazette and Herald have already been working to rule after voting in favour of industrial action.

Staff at YWNG took the vote of no confidence after becoming angry at the proposal to centralise production operations for Johnston Press's local papers in Sheffield.

The union chapel said there had been a "lack of goodwill" shown to editorial staff in the manner in which announcements relating to Atex had been made.

The union claims staff members are being offered the chance to leave the company or transferring to a job which may not exist in a "matter of weeks".

Dave Pickersgill, father of chapel at YWNG, said: "There is real anger at the shabby way in which long-serving members of staff have been treated by Johnston Press and the way in which everyone in the editorial teams at our papers have been, and continue to be, kept in the dark about how our jobs and working conditions will be affected."

Johnston Press declined to comment.

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