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NUJ challenges Johnston Press to ACAS talks on Yorkshire strike

Doncaster picket line with visitors from Doncaster Little Theatre performing Wind in the Willows

Doncaster picket line with visitors from Doncaster Little Theatre performing Wind in the Willows  -  © Private

28 July 2011

Journalists on strike to defend jobs and quality journalism at five Johnston Press (JP) newspapers in Yorkshire are challenging their management to enter talks at conciliation service ACAS to resolve the dispute.

The strike, by NUJ members at the South Yorkshire Times, Doncaster Free Press, Epworth Bells, Selby Times and Goole Courier, began on 15 July. It has been backed by local and national politicians, including Labour leader Ed Miliband, and readers across South Yorkshire.

The NUJ chapel agreed the following motion:

The senior management of South Yorkshire Newspapers (SYN) and indeed Johnston Press has shown that it is absolutely incapable of producing or expediting any kind of fair or lawful consultation on a redundancy plan which we believe will fatally damage its titles, our jobs and futures, and which will harm a free Press in this country.

Instead, the company has relied on a combination of bullying, harassment and bunker mentality to deliver a no-consultation approach in unlawfully pushing through these proposals.

For this reason, the SYN chapel now calls on the auspices of the Government in the form of ACAS to intervene in this dispute.

If the company yet again fails to engage, this demonstrates the complete moral, managerial and strategic redundancy of SYN and JP itself.

The SYN NUJ chapel re-iterates its willingness to meaningfully negotiate a settlement of this dispute which does not harm our titles, our members or the future of the Press.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary, said:

"We are calling on Johnston Press to enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute. We are asking everyone who supports quality journalism to contact Doncaster Free Press and tell them to enter into ACAS talks.
"We want to make sure local news reflects the communities it serves and this battle is about quality and resources. The impact of the cuts is a stark threat not simply to our members' livelihoods but to local news and the future of the industry."

Tags: , newspapers, regional newspapers, local newspapers, johnston press, doncaster free press, south yorkshire newspapers, south yorkshire times, epworth bells, selby times, goole courier, strike, acas