Journalists out on indefinite strike in South Yorkshire have produced bootleg versions of their newspapers – the latest move in a bitter dispute with Johnston Press management.
NUJ members said they are producing versions of the Doncaster Free Press, South Yorkshire Times and the Selby Times so that readers do not ‘miss out on the real news while they are taking industrial action”.
Yesterday, they accused Johnston Press of using students on work experience to disrupt their industrial action. The company declined to comment on the allegations.
‘While we are determined to win our strike we still feel a real responsibility to our readers and are determined to give them the best service they can get,’members said in a statement.
“We also want to show management that we are willing and more than able to produce quality journalism under the most difficult of circumstances.
“We just wish they would give us the opportunity to do that while we were at work.”
The first issues of the papers will focus on the strike but next week’s editions will bring ‘important news from the streets of all three towns”.
NUJ organiser Lawrence Shaw said: “The national union is fully behind this innovative initiative.
‘These hard-working journalists want to bring people in their communities the truth. We wish Johnston Press, whose slogan is ‘Life is Local’, shared the same commitment.
‘We hope it forces the company back to the table to discuss these issues sensibly.”
The members are protesting against Johnston Press’s plans to make 18 staff redundant, including the editor of the South Yorkshire Times, the sports editor of the Doncaster Free Press and the editor of the Goole Courier.
It also wants to merge the Goole and Selby Times operations under one editor and make a reporter and editorial assistant redundant in its Mexborough office.