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Yorkshire journalists to vote on strike action

Journalists at the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post are to be balloted over strike action after owners Johnston Press announced three compulsory redundancies.

The Edinburgh-based newspaper publisher is also calling for 15 more volunteers to leave the two Leeds titles.

The National Union of Journalists says today’s proposals from the company will mean three photographers being made compulsorily redundant.

In addition, management is seeking six voluntary job cuts from YP editorial, six from YEP editorial, and three from a pool of picture technicians who serve both papers.

A statement by the NUJ joint chapel at the titles says: “The new round of job losses are not genuine redundancies within the definition of the term. Redundancy occurs when there is no longer any work for a person to do. In our case the work is still there.

“The company simply wishes to save the wages of some of the people doing it, and pass their workload on to colleagues who are left.”

Peter Lazenby, YEP father of chapel, added: “We are balloting on strike action for two reasons: to remove the compulsory element of the job losses, and for a better deal for anyone who chooses to go.”

The chapel – which meets tomorrow – has a long-standing policy of balloting for strike action if any member is threatened with compulsory redundancy.

The union claims the plans will reduce the combined editorial workforce at the two papers to 144, from 184 at the beginning of last year.

As previously reported on HoldtheFrontPage, the company is also looking at outsourcing sub-editing jobs on the two papers, possibly to the Press Association.

Chris Green, Johnston Press North division managing director, said: “Like most businesses in the country we have been affected by the weakness of the economy. With our production costs rising and our revenues reducing we have to take action.

“The objective of this proposal is to secure the short-term viability of the company by reducing our cost base.”