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NUJ calls for investigation into Johnston Press employment practices

10 August 2011

The NUJ has written to John Fry, the chief executive of Johnston Press, calling for an investigation into the methods used to break the strike at South Yorkshire Newspapers (SYN).

SYN used a 16-year-old schoolboy at the Selby Times on unpaid and alleged work experience.

The SYN Managing Director John Bills also employed his own student son Tom in the newsroom in Doncaster for the first three weeks of the strike. Tom and friend Jack Rees have disparaged and belittled the SYN titles on social networking websites whilst they are being used to break the strike.

Reputation is crucial for any media organisation and the loss of credibility can have enormous implications. The NUJ strike has support amongst the local public and the use of unscrupulous practices during the strike could harm the reputation of the Doncaster Free Press and Johnston Press in Yorkshire.

The NUJ is calling for an investigation and demands that Johnston Press stop employing unpaid and unqualified workers to produce editorial work during the strike.

Chris Morley, NUJ northern & midlands organiser, said:

"We are concerned and angered by the appalling levels to which the company has stooped in attempting to break the current strike at South Yorkshire Newspapers. John Fry should investigate what is happening in Yorkshire and facilitate meaningful talks with the union."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said:

"Companies are able to exploit unpaid and unqualified workers to undermine legitimate strike action and the actions of South Yorkshire Newspapers shows the depths of disdain for its readers and quality local journalism."

Tags: , newspapers, local newspapers, regional newspapers, south yorkshire newspapers, johnston press, work experience, strike, social media