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Yorkshire Johnston Press chapel declares no confidence in director

1 April 2010

Journalists at the Johnston Press-owned Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group have overwhelmingly declared a lack of confidence in Helen Oldham, their managing director. They condemned: 

"the disregard shown to loyal and experienced members of staff in offering them a choice between leaving the company or transferring to a job which may not exist within a matter of weeks."

The angry decision by journalists at the Johnston Press titles reflects what a chapel resolution identifies as:

"the lack of goodwill shown to all editorial staff by the abrupt way in which announcements relating to Atex introduction have been made and the lack of information provided on their future roles, workloads and potential health and safety consequences."

The resolution accuses Helen Oldham of a "tawdry attempt to set workmates against one another by offering those opting not to transfer to Sheffield an additional payment of £2,500 with the threat that this would be withdrawn should they or their colleagues offer any resistance to the Atex implementation process."

The journalists charge that information has been intentionally withheld from NUJ members on how much was known about how and when the introduction of the Atex content management system would take place.

Dave Pickersgill, father of NUJ chapel at the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group, said:

"There is real anger at the shabby way in which long-serving members of staff have been treated by Johnston Press and the way in which everyone in the editorial teams at our papers have been, and continue to be, kept in the dark about how our jobs and working conditions will be affected.
"We hold no grievance against managers at editorial level who will be tasked with restoring morale and making this work, but over and above them this issue had been handled appallingly."

Tags: , newspapers, johnston press, yorkshire, no confidence, yorkshire weekly newspaper group, atex, chapels, local newspapers