Sheffield Star strike suspended as new deal agreed

Journalists on the Sheffield Star and its sister titles have suspended a strike due to start tomorrow after accepting a new deal put forward by Johnston Press‘s local management.

Around 60 journalists were expected to undertake a 48-hour strike in protest at plans to halve the number of production jobs at the ‘editorial hub’ in the city.

The hub was created nine months ago to take on production duties for Johnston Press papers in the North East and Yorkshire.

National Union of Journalist members had intended to act on an earlier strike vote unless management guaranteed there would be no compulsory redundancies under reorganisation plans.

They had also demanded that freelance jobs be converted into staff posts where these become available and insisted on a proper response from Johnston Press to their claim for a pay increase.

Chris Morley, NUJ organiser, said today: ‘The settlement meets the NUJ’s demands and represents a significant victory for our members.

‘We have secured a guarantee of jobs for all staff. Just as important, freelances will have the opportunity of permanent contracts.

‘NUJ members in our Sheffield Newspapers chapel have demonstrated the value of standing together to demand fair treatment for journalists.

‘Now it is up to the company to honour the agreement as a basis for moving forward.”

The move last week for industrial action came just days after John Furbisher announced that he was to step down as editor of the Star, a post he had held for just over a year.

The strike vote was set in motion earlier this month by the NUJ over fears that up to ten jobs could be lost from the hub.

Notification of the strike vote moved Johnston Press to assure staff that its plans to cut production staff in Sheffield would not lead to overall job losses.

Johnston Press told staff that following a review of the Sheffield subbing team it proposed to reduce staff numbers by 9.5 full-time roles, while creating five new posts.

Job losses would be offset by redeployment, the company said, as an additional 18 editorial roles were available within the North Midlands/South Yorkshire region.

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