Yorkshire Johnston Press strikers to give evidence to MPs
2 July 2009
MPs from the Commons Culture select committee were today due to meet the NUJ chapels at Yorkshire Post newspapers in Leeds following NUJ intervention at a meeting in York last night.
Members of the committee, chaired by Conservative MP John Whittingdale, were in York for a public meeting to hear views about the crisis facing the UK's regional media.
Today, they were due to go on to ITV Yorkshire, Real Radio Yorkshire – part of Guardian Media Group – and to meet management at the Yorkshire Post in Leeds. However, until impassioned interventions by NUJ members at the York hearing, the five MPs were not intending to talk to journalists working for the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post.
The chapels there took 15 days of strike action in March in protest against proposed compulsory redundancies by owners Johnston Press (JP). John Fry, JP chief executive, has already given oral evidence at one of the select committee's London hearings.
Jenny Lennox, NUJ assistant organiser, challenged the committee by asking whether they would get a complete and accurate view of the state of the industry without talking to journalists. The MPs agreed that they would also meet workers.
Adam Christie, NUJ national executive council member for Yorkshire and the North East, said:
"Jenny's intervention was supported by the many union members there.
"I hope that the MPs take the opportunity to hear from dedicated union representatives such as Pete Lazenby and Richard Edwards about just what they have had to deal with as resources at the Leeds papers have been slashed time and time again.
"Whatever managers may say, it's the journalists chained to their desks, copying-and-pasting press releases from e-mails into page layouts who really know what the current crisis means for the quality of reporting and news coverage across the UK at the moment."