Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/680/12431
South Yorkshire journalists start all-out strike
A South Yorkshire Newspapers NUJ member
Twenty NUJ journalists at South Yorkshire Newspapers have marched out on a unanimous, indefinite strike over greedy owners Johnston Press's latest efforts to hack their jobs.
The cash-strapped company borrowed up to a billion pounds in the last decade, then watched its shares collapse from 428p to just 4p in the slump. Its shares currently hover around the 5p mark.
New managing director and axeman, John Bills, was brought into the company last December. He never discussed cuts with anyone - or even met some editors - but allowed the editor of the Doncaster Free Press, Graeme Huston to draw up a redundancy hitlist. This included half the Mexborough editorial team at the South Yorkshire Times, including its editor, 37-year-long NUJ member Jim Oldfield.
The proposal is to edit the South Yorkshire Times in Doncaster, once more by Huston - who took some 2,500 off its sales of 6,500 in three years when he last ran it.
When Oldfield took over the title in 2009 he reversed circulation losses of around 30%, making the paper South Yorkshire's best-performing paid-for title in 2010 with losses of just 3.3%.
At the Free Press, Huston has already dispatched his sports editor. The flagship title's sport, along with that of the South Yorkshire Times, will now be edited by the Free Press news editor.
An editor at the free Goole Courier is also proposed for redundancy.
NUJ official Lawrence Shaw said: "The community is right behind us and we've had a great response from passers-by, regular readers and campaigning groups in the local community such as the Socialist Party which has already been out supporting our members on the ground."
- Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @DoncasterNUJ on Twitter for latest updates on the dispute. Also see www.nuj.org.uk
In The Socialist 20 July 2011:
News International scandal
Socialist Party news and analysis
Anti-cuts news and campaigning
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Selling the Socialist
Socialist Party review