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Union hopeful of avoiding compulsory job cuts

The National Union of Journalists has shelved plans for an immediate ballot on strike action at a group of papers in Sheffield after what it termed “encouraging” talks with Johnston Press.

Earlier this week, HTFP reported that NUJ members working at the Sheffield Star and sister paper the Telegraph had threatened to walk out over proposals to cut two chief photographer roles and the equivalent of six full-time production roles.

The union said it feared the move could lead to compulsory redundancies and said unless it got assurances on this, it would ballot for industrial action.

However, Chris Morley, the NUJ’s Northern and Midlands organiser, said there had been encouraging developments at a meeting with management yesterday and that no immediate strike ballot would be held.

He said: “We had some encouraging developments which I think at this stage look quite hopeful. It is sufficient for us not to trigger a ballot at this stage. We are going to report back to the chapel next week.”

Chris said he could not give further details of what was discussed because talks were ongoing.

Titles affected by the proposals include the two Sheffield papers, the Doncaster Free Press and Derbyshire Times.

When the proposed job cuts were announced, the company said it would aim to minimise the impact through voluntary redundancy and re-deployment to alternative positions.

Johnston Press declined to comment further.