Halifax journalists join Johnston Press strike wave
8 April 2009
Journalists in Halifax have joined their Johnston Press (JP) colleagues in Leeds and East Lancashire in balloting for industrial action over jobs.
NUJ members on the Halifax Courier, Brighouse Echo, Hebden Bridge Times and Todmorden News are angry over management's refusal to rule out compulsory redundancies and the imposition of reduced redundancy terms.
Journalists on the Johnston-owned Yorkshire Post and Evening Post have already taken 13 days of strike action over cuts.
It was announced yesterday that NUJ members at East Lancashire Newspapers had also voted overwhelmingly for industrial action – today management agreed to no compulsory redundancies.
Last month bosses at the Derry Journal, also part of JP, backed down over compulsory redundancies after the union chapel voted for action.
Notice of the Halifax ballot has been submitted to the company today.
Chris Morley, NUJ Northern Organiser, said:
"We've had ballots or action taking place at Johnston Press offices from Burnley to Hull.
"Journalists are telling the company that their policy of death by a thousand cuts is not acceptable at these newspapers and websites which have a historical role at the heart of their communities.
"In Halifax, the chapel is particularly angry about the company decision to cut redundancy pay from the three weeks pay per year of service they previously paid to two weeks."
Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, said:
"In Derry and East Lancashire, Johnston Press journalists voted 100 percent in favour of industrial action of some sort. In Leeds, they voted 97 percent in favour of strike action.
"It is clear that the company policy of slash and burn with no apparent plan for the future has been rejected wholesale by their employees across Britain and Ireland.
"We demand – on behalf of Johnston Press journalists – an urgent meeting with chief executive John Fry to hear the company's ideas for the future. If they wont give guarantees about quality journalism they should get out of the industry and sell their much-loved titles to someone who will."