Journalists at a group of weekly newspapers in Yorkshire threatened with up to 18 job cuts are to ballot on industrial action.
Publisher Johnston Press announced plans last Friday to axe 18 posts at South Yorkshire Newspapers, including merging three weekly titles under one editor.
National Union of Journalists’ members at the group voted to ballot on industrial action following an emergency chapel meeting yesterday, claiming the plans will cause “particular damage” to the Mexborough-based South Yorkshire Times.
The NUJ chapel also passed a vote of no confidence in management at the group.
Northern and midlands organiser Chris Morley said: “Management’s proposals show how flimsy are the Johnston Press claims to believe in local journalism to serve the communities where its newspapers circulate.
“The company has chosen to attack the editorial department of one of the best performing titles for circulation in its stable.
“The South Yorkshire Times has fought hard for its reputation as a campaigning newspaper that digs out stories people want to read but this seems to cut no ice with the corporate bean counters.
“Our members are in no mood to accept these wholesale cuts which merely undermine the jobs that remain for the future. Johnston Press has no idea or strategy to grow the business or defend its staff and customers with a positive strategy.”
No-one from Johnston Press was available for comment at the time of publication.
Last week, SYN managing director John Bills blamed the cutbacks on “underperforming advertising and circulation” and said that although 18 jobs were at risk of redundancy, there were eight vacancies within the company that those affected would be encouraged to apply for.