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Talks held at strike-hit news group

Representatives of the striking journalists at South Yorkshire Newspapers were today due to meet with management to discuss the dispute.

Talks had been halted after editorial staff began industrial action in a protest over pay, but the National Union of Journalists said chapel committee members were now due to meet South Yorkshire Newspapers’ managing director Terry Johnson at 10am.

The company publishes the Doncaster Free Press, Doncaster Advertiser, South Yorkshire Times, Epworth Bells, Goole Courier, Gainsborough Standard and the Community Newsletter, and journalists there are currently in the middle of a ten-day walkout.

They had previously said they would stay away from work until August 2 unless management offered “constructive talks”, and following today’s meeting NUJ memebers will vote again on whether to continue with industrial action, call it off, or suspend it as a gesture of good will during a period of talks.

NUJ mother of chapel Emma Roots said: “I welcome the talks but they must lead to a better deal for members.

Johnston Press directors like to boast about how they maintain control of their costs but the reality is that someone along the line always pays the price. Once again the company is expecting that price to be paid by its front line staff accepting poverty pay.”

The NUJ chapel had been in pay talks with the company since January this year, but is unhappy with a pay rise offer of 2.75 per cent and is instead pushing for an improved offer which they say would bring pay in line with other similar Johnson Press centres.