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Yorkshire journalists to stage 24-hour strike

Journalists at Scarborough-based Yorkshire Regional Newspapers are to hold a 24-hour strike this Friday in protest over plans which involve moving subbing jobs 102 miles away to Sheffield.

The move comes as a result of what the union claims is lack of consultation over the introduction of its new Atex content management system.

Part of the plan involves production of the YRN daily and weekly titles being moved to a new subbing hub in Sheffield, forcing sub-editors to make a 200-mile daily round trip to keep their jobs.

NUJ members at both Scarborough and Sheffield have previously voted in favour of industrial action over the plans.

Notice of the intention to strike was set out in a letter from NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear to YRN managing director Jason Rewse-Davies sent on Friday.

It cited the reasons for the dispute as: failure to guarantee no compulsory job losses; lack of consultation and unreasonable introduction of the Atex editorial system; and resulting damage to quality content of relevant newspapers and websites.

Staff involved in the action include 18 journalists based at the Scarborough Evening News, five at the Whitby Gazette and one at the Malton and Pickering Mercury.

1.15pm update: Mr Rewse-Davies said in a statement: “We can confirm that the NUJ members in Scarborough, Malton and Whitby have informed us of their intention to take industrial action on Friday 30 April 2010.

“We are disappointed that the NUJ has taken this action opposing the introduction of the new content management system and workflows, particularly as the NUJ has not used the internal disputes procedure, the content management system has already been installed and is in use, and we have avoided the need for any compulsory redundancies of permanent members of staff.

“We are confident that we have strong contingency plans in place and any industrial action will not have a significant impact on our publications.”


Wolfie (26/04/2010 11:15:16)
JP not commenting? We value everyone’s contribution, we are open and straightforward, we act with integrity . . . . that’s how the mantra goes isn’t it?

Golam Murtaza (26/04/2010 11:16:26)
Best of luck to all the strikers.

ex journo (26/04/2010 11:23:49)
Well done you, wish our lot had been braver might still be working in the press.

Hacked off hack (26/04/2010 11:30:35)
I’d be in favour of striking for a week, then they’d know about it.

Johnston Press Worker (26/04/2010 11:36:15)
Good on them – we’re all too tired of jumped-up little ad reps-turned-managing directors making foolhardy decisions which are destroying papers. Good on these workers for showing the balls to stand up to it. Atex is a shambles – as everyone with an ounce of sense who’d spent more than 10 mins in a newsroom could tell you.

woldsman (26/04/2010 12:13:50)
Good luck everyone. This is what you get when you have MDs with no experience of journalism. All your papers are a mess. Go for a week next time and give JP a real test.

JP staffer (26/04/2010 12:14:01)
Good luck to you all for standing up against JP and the shambles of ATEX.

Anxiously Awaiting Atex (26/04/2010 12:29:22)
Will be looking very closely at the outcome of this dispute…

hilary (26/04/2010 12:32:17)
Good luck to the strikers… and good luck on the Monday morning when they will be racing to catch up with all the stuff they didn’t do on Friday. Journos can’t help it and their bosses know it – papers never come out with holes on the page. I know it would be horribly expensive but you really should have given it at least three days, guys! Still, better out than under, as they don’t say…

Oldhackandproud (26/04/2010 12:42:35)
Best of luck. I was a cub in 1979 and already knew how fed up everybody was with the Newspaper Society. And now the feelings are even worse. And so is the NS, by the way!!
It’s tough, but stick with it!!

regionalhack (26/04/2010 15:04:20)
I heard that staff were given just six days notice of the changes caused by Atex. Plenty of time for going into ‘internal disputes procedure’ there then…
JP were’nt trying to rush in Atex were they by any chance… ?

outofit (26/04/2010 15:51:31)
It’s about time the long-suffering journalists of Johnston Press got together and launched a company-wide strike against the Atex disaster and the lack of anything like a competent management.
OK, it may be tight financially for a couple of weeks but what is that against the prospect of such a bleak future?
Unite and take on these half-assed, brainless, jumped up, buzzword-addicted ad reps whose only skill is to con people into buying expensive adverts.

Keith Farnsworth (26/04/2010 16:41:34)
What a sorry state of affairs. It is hard to believe that the people running newspapers these days are so lacking in knowledge and understanding of the industry –and so brutal and unfeeling with their employees. Good luck to the journalists.

Onlooker (26/04/2010 17:17:18)
Rumour has it that a couple of days strike action by upset editorial departments and JP will be on it’s knees due to the mounting debt.
Good luck people !!!

Mr_Osato (26/04/2010 19:04:39)
Clearly this is only likely to have a significant effect if strike action takes place simultaneously in a number of JP centres… come on JP hacks, let’s be ‘aving you!

Sub-for-now (26/04/2010 19:34:07)
A strike won’t be necessary. We’re heading into the main holiday season when people will be away. Oh dear! Nobody thought of that did they? If you only train up a few people to do all the work (including many, many hours overtime) then you’re really going to be stuck when those few people go on holiday aren’t you, Mr Fry? If you’d asked the NUJ to talk to you then this could have been pointed out. So when your newspapers don’t appear on the streets, just remember…. WE TOLD YOU SO!

prionmonkey (27/04/2010 10:55:18)
Mr Rewse-Davies’ wheedling whine about internal dispute procedures is typical of the heartless management tripe they have been spouting for years at JP.
They NEVER listen they NEVER negotiate meaningfully. Don’t bother negotiating just STRIKE.
Artex is a slow, infuriatingly fiddly, clumsy peice of tripe.

spooky (27/04/2010 11:55:19)
Good luck strikers! Anyone who had the guts and wherewithal to set up small, rival, community papers or websites would have a heck of a lot of ammunition to explain why they were launching. Get concerned local businesses behind you and take them on, letting the local public know whay you’re doing it and how the ‘JP’ title is no longer a ‘local’ paper. Easier said than done, I know – but the time is right.

Angry JP worker (27/04/2010 13:22:05)
Good luck strikers.
Atex isn’t fit for purpose – and neither are those in charge at JP.

P Stoff (27/04/2010 18:00:37)
This is what you can expect when you have MDs with no experience of journalism and a company which cares much more for maximum profits than the wellbeing of its employees. Staff were given very little notice of the introduction of Atex at YRN; it was railroaded in as quickly as possible with scant training. Contrary to the impression created by Mr Rewse-Davies, JP allowed its staff no time to invoke its internal disputes procedure. Stress levels rocketed. People lost sleep fretting over this ridiculously complex system. How they can get rid of seven talented subs / page designers and imagine that the remaining newsroom team can soak up their work beats me. The company is plain immoral, with no ethical backbone, no compassion. They are probably planning to turn it twice-weekly soon.

Scribbler (28/04/2010 16:10:08)
Having worked albeit briefly with Atex as a reporter, it’s not just the clumsiness that hinders – it’s all the extra work that used to be absorbed by the sub-editors. Now we have to get the story, write it, in
put the pictures, put the story on the page, sub it, headline it and send it through a complex series of hoops – we’ll be selling it next to save on the cost of employing news vendors. Thanks, JP, well done. The readers are already starting to notice…

Fed up (29/04/2010 13:17:38)
JP = Just Pathetic!

Vertigan (30/04/2010 08:03:19)
Comments below are quite amusing;
This has happened in every other department in the company. Why should editorial be protected? Backbone of the company blah blah? Strict journalistic principles blah blah?
You risk losing your pay day. Where were you when pre press went? Where were tyou when the press crew went? where were you when the accounts dept went?
And frankly blaming the MDs when they are nothing but desk monkeys like the rest of us is just stupid. Blame clowns like Green and his accomplices, they ruined it all in the first place.