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Striking journalists ‘will not give up’

Union members at South Yorkshire Newspapers remain defiant as they enter the sixth week of strike action in protest at plans by Johnston Press to cut staff.

A number of journalists from the group of titles have been on indefinite strike action since 15 July, manning picket lines outside the offices of their newspapers. Titles affected by the cuts include the South Yorkshire Times, Selby Times, Doncaster Free Press, Epworth Bells and Goole Courier.

The proposals by Johnston Press will see a total of 18 jobs lost within the group. It would see the South Yorkshire Times , Goole Courier and Selby Times run under a single editor.

Speaking to HTFP from the picket line union member Kathryn Farr said members were determined to carry on with the strike as long as it took to make the company sit up and listen.

Said Kathryn: “We still believe in what we are doing. Everyone has their moments but we are all upbeat. Nobody is faltering, we are all resolute in what we are doing.

“The general feeling is that we will go on as long as it takes  – none of us want to give up and we are all still very determined to engage in talks with the company.

“One thing that is keeping everyone positive six weeks on is that we are still getting massive support from everyone.

She added: “We are still determined to succeed in this and get some sort of result and will stay out on strike for as long as it takes.”

Since the strikes, the newspapers have been produced by skeleton staff, with the union claiming that work experience students and freelancers are being used to produce the papers.

Some members of staff have already been made redundant, including former editor of the South Yorkshire Times, Jim Oldfield, who is appealing his redundancy, and the sports editor of the Doncaster Free Press.

Johnston Press did not wish to comment.

 

8 comments

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  • August 22, 2011 at 10:54 am
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    Brilliant NUJ people fighting for real newspapers and jobs. I feel a donation coming on……..

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  • August 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm
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    I’m staggered by their commitment. Keep up the effort and show Johsnton that you mean business. You’re an inspiration to those who work hard across the industry and are rarely rewarded for their dedication!

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  • August 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm
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    It would be interesting to find out if the newspaper buyers of these towns are boycotting the JP titles – does anyone know?

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  • August 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm
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    What a wonderful stance you are taking in the genuine defence of jobs. Good luck to every one of you. And Goole is my home town, so even more power to your elbow!

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  • August 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm
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    In response to Scribbler, people aren’t boycotting the SYT as much as they ought, but some customers have returned SYT to the newsagent and asked for a refund, due to the poor editorial content. Some have cancelled their delivered SYT and are having Barnsley Chronicle instead, wether they will return at a later date is unknown but there is a lot more to read in the independantly owned Chronicle.
    JP dont seem at all bothered, they borrowed all those millions, bought all those titles and are running them into the ground.
    All the thousands of job losses, all the wage freezes and even wage drops and still more doom and gloom on the horizon.

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  • August 22, 2011 at 6:02 pm
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    But for all the NUJ’s posturing, it’s still unclear exactly what this strike is hoping to achieve?

    South Yorkshire TImes editor Jim Oldfield has already received his redundancy? What’s left to protest about?

    One has to ask, what’s it really all about now? My advice to the misguided individuals of South Yorkshire Newspapers is simple. Swallow your collective pride, get back to work (while you still have a newspaper to work upon) and prove to all concerned that you are NOT simply embarked upon an act of mass-vandalism, effectively attempting to destroy your own publications.

    The time for selfishness is over. The time for clear reason is now.

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  • August 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm
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    @Scribbler – I for one am. i haven’t bought it for as long as the dtrikers have been out, and now that Oldfield has been given the boot, I’ll not be buying it again as long as Huston is “in charge”.

    @Dearne Valley Reader – The Barnsley Chronicle is no substitue for the South Yorkshire Times, in the same way as the SYT is no substitute for the BC. That’s like comparing the Orlando Sentinel with the Liverpool Echo.

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