South Yorkshire Times

South Yorkshire Times announces strike on its front page

Journalists at Johnston Press titles in South Yorkshire will begin an indefinite strike this Friday in protest over planned job cuts.

NUJ members at the South Yorkshire Newspapers division voted unanimously for action in a strike ballot last week.

In June, Johnston Press announced plans to cut 18 editorial jobs, as well as closing the Goole Courier's office and scrapping the editor's role at both the Courier and South Yorkshire Times, leaving a single editor based at the Selby Times' office to manage all three titles.

Staff at the Mexborough-based South Yorkshire Times will be halved, with some relocated to work on two news hubs in Selby and Doncaster.

NUJ staff at the newspapers have also passed votes of no confidence in South Yorkshire Newspapers editor-in-chief Graeme Huston, managing director John Bills, and the Johntson Press senior management team in Edinburgh.

NUJ Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said in a statement: "Our members at South Yorkshire Newspapers are saying in the strongest possible way that they are willing to defend not only colleagues at risk – but also the crucial ingredient of good journalism which has been placed in dire jeopardy by the narrow financial considerations of the company.

"The chapel has got to the point where there can be no compromise with a miserable strategy of cheese-paring decline that members believe will finish off their titles in an agonising slow death.

"Our members believe good quality journalism has a future and is, in fact, the future. It can be the only way for the company to build a successful and sound business amid the current crisis of journalism and the media."

South Yorkshire Times editor Jim Oldfield won praise from the union last month when he ran a front-page story on the planned job cuts affecting his title.

The job cuts are currently under a 30-day consultation period. Bills said last month that there were eight equivalent roles vacant across Sheffield Newspapers, South Yorkshire Newspapers and Wilfred Edmunds and existing employees will be encouraged to apply for the positions.

Johnston Press was unavailable for comment.

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