Journalists on indefinite strike in South Yorkshire will present a petition signed by thousands of readers to Johnston Press chief executive John Fry this morning.
The petition will be handed to Fry at around 10am when he attends a Johnston meeting in central London. The NUJ was unable to confirm the exact number of readers who had signed the petition but it is believed to be several thousand.
The petition is protesting against a series of job cuts and a management reshuffle affecting papers in the region including the Doncaster Free Press, Epworth Bells, Selby Times and South Yorkshire Times. Some 25 staff have been on strike since 15 July.
NUJ organiser Chris Morley said: “It’s wonderful that so many people have chosen to back our members’ campaign against what is effectively the death of their newspaper.
‘It was brilliant to see how much support we have had from readers – at times people were literally queuing up to sign the petition.
“Under Jim Oldfield’s editorship the South Yorkshire Times became one of the most vital, courageous and popular local weeklies in the country – it is heartbreaking to see such an inspiring era threatened in this way.”
Despite being on strike for five weeks, the striker’s spokesman at the Doncaster Free Press insisted last week that ‘our members still feel as resolute as they did on day one”.
“Nothing’s changed, we’re still more than happy to sit down with Johnston Press to resolve these issues – it’s the company that is reluctant to talk,’he said.
Johnston Press declined to comment.