Unions and bosses at Yorkshire Post Newspapers were today set for a showdown in the row over compulsory redundancies.
Earlier today the National Union of Journalists announced it would be holding two four-day strikes at the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post later this month in protest at the axing of three photographers.
But managers upped the stakes by raising the possibility of more compulsory job cuts after its request for voluntary redundancies failed to get any takers.
The company said that as a result it now had no alternative but to start the redundancy selection process.
Johnston Press North divisional managing director Chris Green said: “Members of the Leeds NUJ Chapel have today informed us that they intend to take strike action in support of their stance of ‘no compulsory redundancies.’
“Over the last few weeks, we have endeavoured to achieve the proposed reduction in editorial staff of 18 through voluntary redundancy and redeployment. Our request focuses mainly on production staff in back office functions and not on our dedicated team of reporters and news gatherers.
“Although we have had some success with redeployment, surprisingly we have had no formal volunteers from Leeds and we are left with no other alternative other than to start the redundancy selection process.
“In the current economic climate, we cannot responsibly agree to the NUJ’s position of ‘no compulsory redundancies.’ Steps have been taken to ensure that the quality and frequency of our publications will not suffer as a result of the NUJ action in Leeds.”
The two four-day strikes are due to take place from Thursday 19 February to Sunday 22 February and Thursday 26 February to Sunday 1 March.
It follows a vote of 109-3 in favour of strike action yesterday.