Striking journalists in South Yorkshire want to call in the conciliation service ACAS to resolve their dispute with management, it was confirmed today.
National Union of Journalists’ members at the Johnston Press-owned South Yorkshire Newspapers have been on indefinite strike since 15 July in protest at planned job cuts.
Now they are calling on JP to agree to talks under the aegis of the Advistory Conciliation and Arbitration Service in a bid to break the deadlock.
The union says that if JP fails to respond to its offer, it wants the government to intervene.
Strike action was called in the wake of proposals to axe 18 jobs across four weekly titles – the Doncaster Free Press, Goole Courier, Selby Times and Mexborough-based South Yorkshire Times.
The proposals will see the roles of editor of both the South Yorkshire Times and Goole Courier disappear, with the titles coming under the Doncaster Free Press and Selby Times respectively.
The approach to ACAS was agreed following a meeting of the group’s NUJ chapel last night.
Today it issued a statement that accused the company of relying on a “no-consultation approach” to push through these proposals.
“The senior management of SYN and indeed JP has shown that it is absolutely incapable of producing or expediting any kind of fair or lawful consultation on a redundancy plan which we believe will fatally damage its titles, our jobs and futures, and which will harm a free press in this country,” it said.
“For this reason, the SYN chapel now calls on the auspices of the government in the form of ACAS to intervene in this dispute.
“If the company yet again fails to engage, this demonstrates the complete moral, managerial and strategic redundancy of SYN and JP itself.
“The SYN NUJ chapel re-iterates its willingness to meaningfully negotiate a settlement of this dispute which does not harm our titles, our members or the future of the press.”
Johnston Press told HTFP it would not be making any comment on the move.