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South Yorkshire journalists walk out

National Union of Journalists members at South Yorkshire Newspapers completed a day of strike action yesterday in protest at management refusal to increase their 2.75 per cent pay offer.

Staff from the Johnston Press-owned Doncaster Free Press, Doncaster Advertiser, South Yorkshire Times, Epworth Bells, Goole Courier, Gainsborough Standard and the Community Newsletter were joined on the picket line by union general secretary Jeremy Dear, president Chris Morley and northern organiser Miles Barter.

The company has offered a basic pay deal of 2.75 per cent and the introduction of minimum rates to staff on their weekly papers based in the Doncaster office.

The current minimum salary for qualified journalists is £16,855.

The union claims this is “much less” than on other Johnston Press owned weeklies in Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Chris Morley said: “We had a really good turn out and members were in high spirits as they gathered outside at 7am.

“After nine months of negotiation managers are still putting the same insulting offer on the table. It is simply not good enough.”

Miles Barter added: “The local community has been very supportive. They have taken our leaflets, signed our petition and expressed surprise at how low the journalists’ wages are.”

Two further days of strike action will take place next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, if no progress is made.

The 23-strong union chapel, which won back union recognition last year, also started a two-week work-to-rule on Monday.