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Second no confidence vote in Johnston Press MD

Journalists at a Yorkshire newspaper group have become the second in a week to pass a vote of no confidence in their managing director.

The National Union of Journalists chapel at the Halifax Courier Ltd has written to John Fry, chief executive of its parent company Johnston Press, to outline “in the strongest possible terms that it has no confidence” in Helen Oldham.

The chapel represents journalists on the Halifax Courier, Brighouse Echo, Todmorden News and Hebden Bridge Times.

A similar motion of no confidence was passed last week in the same MD by journalists at the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group whose titles include the Wakefield Express, Morley Observer and Dewsbury Reporter.

The move is the latest in a string of industrial disputes at Johnston Press newspaper centres as it continues to implement its new Atex content management system.

This new process enables reporters to write copy and headlines directly onto template pages, reducing the needs for subs, and JP is proposing to centralise some of its Yorkshire production operations in Sheffield.

The chapel’s letter goes on to accuse the company of showing a “lack of goodwill and disrespect” to staff over the uncertainty regarding jobs.

It also says the time frame for the move is “unacceptably short” and opposes what it calls attempts to set workmates against each other by offering £2,500 to those choosing not to move to Sheffield.

The NUJ chapel claims that JP is threatening to withdraw this money if those staff who take it subsequently resisted the introduction of Atex.

Johnston Press declined to comment on this story.


Hard-pressed JP worker (09/04/2010 10:42:44)
“Johnston Press declined to comment on this story”. Time and again we read this – this is why staff feel betrayed by JP – they refuse to tell us anything – this is why we’re all scared for our futures and have no confidence in their plans.

Johnston Press Fan Club (09/04/2010 12:43:14)
Another “no confidence” in a Johnston Press Managing Director? I’m stunned – in my experience they work extremely hard (especially during the festive period), look after employee’s interests and are very knowledgeable about editorial matters and how a newspaper operates, particularly with regards to their understanding of subbing.

hackedoff (09/04/2010 16:05:35)
Johnson Press Fan Club – “look after employee’s interests and are very knowledgeable about editorial matters.” Are you being ironic? All JP managers are interested in is the balance sheet. They don’t give a damn about the people who work for them. That’s why they pay such insulting wages and have no regard for qualities such as loyalty or long service. JP is systematically wrecking the regional press. They “have an understanding of subbing”? They don’t know their arses from their elbows or a strapline from a byline.

Wolfie (09/04/2010 17:06:10)
Johnston Press declined to comment, as I said on an earlier JP related story – surprise surprise, not. Lack of goodwill? Disrespect? On all future JP job descriptions insert “only doormats need apply”. But by then the whole shebang should hopefully have caught up with these unspeakable people.

JustifiedPessamism (09/04/2010 17:47:46)
Hacked off, I think Johnston Press Fan Club is taking the p**s somewhat

Kelly (12/04/2010 09:36:48)
Given that JP’s business relies on people being willing to comment on stories, it does stick in the throat somewhat.