The National Union of Journalists fears that as many as 12 jobs could be lost at Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post as publisher Johnston Press introduces the controversial Atex content management system to the papers.
According to the union, staff fear that Johnston Press could implement compulsory redundancies across the two papers as a way of reducing headcount.
Johnston Press announced last month that 80 per cent of its editorial staff were now using the Atex system. However, implementation has not been a seamless process as journalists across its regional papers reacted angrily to having the system imposed on them.
The National Union of Journalists attempted to arrange a group-wide strike in protest at job losses and the implementation of Atex, however, it was thwarted in the courts by the regional publisher.
The union said last night introduction of Atex put the quality journalism on the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post at risk and highlighted how it had caused problems on other papers in the group, claiming the introduction elsewhere was rushed to facilitate job losses and led to a series of production problems.
‘In June, the free weekly Bedford Times and Citizen front page said ‘headline headghgh’ and ‘strapline for main story like this if needed’,’a statement from the union said.
‘The Sheffield Star is the paid-for daily newspaper in Sheffield and had a front-page expose which was covered with solid black boxes disguising a dozen wanted men. The South Yorkshire Times has appeared with a blank hole in its pages.
‘The NUJ wants to embrace new technology that enhances quality journalism but we do not support the manipulation of technology to put our members on the dole and harm the quality of what our members produce with professionalism. Destroying quality journalism also treats the readers with contempt.”
The union is calling on Johnston Press local management in Yorkshire to look at possible alternatives to redundancy prior to any proposed job cuts.