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Journalists in broadcasting and print start August on strike

29 July 2011

NUJ members are beginning August with strikes in local newspapers in Yorkshire and across the UK at the BBC.

The BBC strike by the NUJ aimed to protect jobs. This will be the second 24-hour strike action to take place in response to compulsory redundancies at the BBC.

An NUJ member in BBC Monitoring was last week escorted out the door and, within hours, three new jobs were advertised for which he was qualified. Three people have been forced out of the BBC to date, and more are due to leave in the next few weeks.

In response, journalists at the BBC held a 24-hour strike from midnight on Monday 1 August. A work to rule will commence as journalists return to work on Tuesday. Journalists working for the BBC Arabic Service will continue their strike action until midnight on Thursday.

The NUJ said that it remains committed to negotiating a settlement to the dispute, but that the BBC remains unwilling to engage in finding reasonable resolutions for individuals who have been forced to leave and who face compulsory redundancy in the weeks to come.

NUJ members in Yorkshire have been out on indefinite strike action since Friday 15 July. The dispute is about defending jobs and quality journalism at Johnston Press newspapers.

The action is being reluctantly taken in the face of severe cutbacks that will irreparably damage the profitable newspapers our members produce – The Doncaster Free Press, The South Yorkshire Times, The Selby Times and The Epworth Bells.

The NUJ is calling on management to enter urgently into conciliation talks with ACAS to resolve the dispute. Yet  Johnston Press (JP) is, so far, refusing to talk. JP has just appointed a new chief executive officer with a £500,000 'golden hello' at the same time as proposing to cut half of the editorial staff.

The NUJ is requesting a meeting with the new CEO, Ashley Highfield, to discuss the future of the newspaper group, and for him to bring forward a new focus and commitment to quality and resources.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary, said:

"NUJ members across the UK are fighting for the future of our profession. Job losses are disastrous for quality journalism and democracy in the UK. Management should stop the job cuts and get round the table with the NUJ."

Tags: , south yorkshire times, strike, johnston press, bbc, broadcasting, newspapers, local newspapers, regional newspapers, bbc monitoring, cuts, doncaster free press, selby times, epworth bells, radio, television, bbc arabic service, redundancies