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Solidarity for Doncaster strikers from fellow trade unionists

Solidarity demo in Doncaster

Solidarity demo in Doncaster  -  © Peter Lee

8 August 2011

Trade Unionists from all over the country and local people took to the streets of Doncaster on Saturday 6 August to back striking journalists at South Yorkshire Newspapers. The NUJ members are now into the fourth week of their indefinite strike.

The strikers and supporters were joined by three of the town's councillors – Richard Cooper-Holmes, Hilary Macnamee and Sandra Holland, leader of Doncaster Council's Labour group.

Doncaster Councillor Hilary Macnamee said:

"What you've got in the copies of the Doncaster Free Press since the strike started is cut price newspaper quality, but they're still charging full price for it.
"I think it's shocking that Johnston Press has used students on work experience to help them get the papers out during the strike.
"I certainly won't be buying the Free Press until the dispute is over."

Jim Board from Unison said:

"We're here to show solidarity with the journalists from all the papers who are taking part in this dispute.
"The issues they face are the issues were all having to face in this climate of cuts."

Julia West from the Communications Workers Union added:

"It's unusual these days for people to feel so strongly that they go on indefinite strike - I think they need our support in their fight for quality local journalism."

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern & Midlands Organiser, said:

"The support from fellow NUJ members for the strikers was fantastic, as was the strong solidarity shown by other local trade unionists. The march definitely caught the imagination of the community and we had a multitude of well-wishers – many of whom are readers of South Yorkshire Newspapers' titles.
"It is evident that the strike is providing an inspiration for all sorts of people who also face demoralising cuts at work, such as those in public services, and is gaining strength all the time. It is time the company took its head out of the sand and started to properly address the concerns of its journalists."

Barry Fitzpatrick, NUJ Head of Publishing, said:

"The union is fully behind the brave stand being taken by our members in Johnston Press. Their willingness to confront the arrogance of the Edinburgh Management once again proves that we are the ones that really care about local community news provision. Last weekend's events in London prove how vital it is that independent quality journalism is the priority for media ownership."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary, said:

"Johnston Press needs its journalists and their titles will only survive if they invest in jobs and quality journalism. Johnston Press claim they 'aim to serve local communities' but the demonstration on Saturday shows they are refusing to invest in quality, or to listen to local political leaders, trade unions and the public."

Tags: , doncaster, south yorkshire newspapers, newspapers, local newspapers, regional newspapers, johnston press, cuts, strike, demonstration, cwu, unison