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March to take place in support of striking journalists

Hundreds of people will march through Doncaster town centre on Saturday in support of journalists on strike over job cuts in South Yorkshire.

Journalists at The Doncaster Free Press, South Yorkshire Times, Selby Times and Epworth Bells are currently in their third week of strike action over the cuts which will see the loss of 18 jobs, including two editors’ roles. The papers have been going to press on skeletal staff since.

Saturday’s march has been organised by members of unions including Unison, Unite and the CWU. It will be followed by a rally in support of the National Union of Journalist’s challenge to publisher Johnston Press to use conciliation service ACAS to resolve the dispute at the four weekly titles.

Speaking to HTFP this week, Richard Parker, deputy editor at the Selby Times, said they had been met with a ‘wall of silence’ from management.

He said thousands of people had now signed a petition in support of their plight: “On the one hand there is a wall of silence from Johnston Press, on the other there is a wave of support and that makes me think we are doing the right thing” he said.

He added that he had been told by readers that people had taken copies of the newspapers back to the shop and asked for their money back since the journalists had been on strike because there were so many errors in them and so little news.

The march will assemble in Frenchgate, Doncaster (near the White Swan pub) at noon on Saturday before proceeding through Doncaster town centre. A rally and speeches will then take place in Doncaster market place near the offices of the Doncaster Free Press. 

NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet  said: “Johnston Press owes it to the newspapers’ readers and the local communities to enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute.”

Johnston Press had not provided a comment at the time of publication.

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