South Yorkshire journalists announce indefinite strike

Journalists at Johnston Press‘s redundancy-threatened newspapers in South Yorkshire will walk out on an indefinite strike this week.

Staff at South Yorkshire Newspapers voted to take the action following a ballot that saw 100 per cent support from NUJ members on a 90 per cent turnout.

Johnston plans to axe the editor of the South Yorkshire Times, the sports editor of the Doncaster Free Press and the editor of the Goole Courier, and to merge the Goole and Selby Times operations under one editor.

Under the plans, the NUJ said the number of reporters in Johnston’s Mexborough office would be cut from four to three.

As well as the strike vote, staff have unanimously passed a second vote of no confidence in South Yorkshire Newspapers editor-in-chief Graeme Huston. They have also passed voted of no confidence in managing director John Bills and the Johntson Press senior management team in Edinburgh.

National Union of Journalists northern and Midlands regional organiser Chris Morley said: ‘Our Members at the South Yorkshire Times are saying in the strongest possible way that they will defend not only colleagues at risk of redundancy but also good journalism placed in jeopardy by narrow financial considerations.

‘They have got to the point where there can be no compromise with a strategy of decline that they believe will ultimately finish off their titles in an agonisingly slow death.

‘Our members believe good quality journalism has a future – and is the only way the company build a sound business in the current climate.”

Last month the editor of the South Yorkshire Post Jim Oldfield ran a front-page story on the proposed job cuts.

NUJ members at the Doncaster Free Press, Epworth Bells, South Yorkshire Times, Goole Courier and Selby Times will walk out indefinitely from Friday.

Johnston Press declined to comment.

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