Tuesday, 30 August 2011

NUJ urges Johnston Press to open talks on strike

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet has called on Johnston Press to open talks with journalists at South Yorkshire Newspapers who are on indefinite strike now that more than 3,000 readers have signed a petition backing their action and opposing cuts planned by the group.

The petition was close to breaking the 3,000-reader barrier when it was presented by striking journalists to outgoing Johnston Press chief executive John Fry at a financial meeting in the City of London last Thursday.

The NUJ claims the journalists have won massive support from local communities since their action began on July 15 at the South Yorkshire Times, Doncaster Free Press, Selby Times and Epworth Bells over job cuts, office closures, increased workloads and a lack of faith in management.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet (top) said: “Now is the time for John Fry to show some leadership. He claimed not to understand why journalists in South Yorkshire are out on strike, so what better reason to sit down and discuss the major issues at hand.

"Thousands of readers in South Yorkshire are appalled at what’s happened to their local papers under his watch. If quality journalism is as important to him as he said to us outside the Johnston financial meeting, John Fry needs to get his journalists back in work and doing what they do best, serving their communities. That can’t happen until common sense prevails and a commitment to meaningful talks is made.”

Pic: Jon Slattery

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