MPs call on Commons to support strikers

MPs have called upon Johnston Press management to talk to the NUJ to try to solve the current dispute.

In an Early Day motion, they say the company’s actions have undermined the working conditions of journalists and the local journalism essential to the community.

The motion was tabled by former Calendar presenter and Yorkshire TV journalist Austin Mitchell, the MP for Greater Grimsby.

Among the first to add his name was Elmet MP Colin Burgon, who visited the strikers outside the Yorkshire Post Newspapers building in Leeds. (See below.)

By Tuesday afternoon, the EDM had also been signed by Keighley MP Ann Cryer, Mike Wood from Batley and Spen, Eric Illsley of Barnsley Central, Linda Riordan from Halifax and Calder Valley’s Chris McCafferty.

The EDM says:

That this House supports the journalists who are taking strike action in defence of jobs and quality journalism at the Yorkshire Post after the owners, Johnston Press, announced three compulsory redundancies and called for 15 more volunteers to leave the company; notes that Johnston Press’s profit margins have been amongst the highest in the sector, often bringing in more than 30 per cent. returns, making hundreds of millions of pounds profit, and that former chief executive Tim Bowdler’s 2007 remuneration was over £1 million including a performance-related bonus of £516,000; regrets that rather than investing in high quality local journalism, Johnston Press’s management chose to return money to shareholders and take out massive debts to fund the acquisition of more titles and that the company now faces debts of around £465 million; believes that Johnston Press’s actions have undermined working conditions of local journalists and local journalism which is essential to our communities; and urges Johnston Press to reconsider its position and enter into a positive dialogue with the National Union of Journalists in order to solve the problems that local journalism is now facing.

Please ask your MP to sign the motion too.

You can do this easily online by using the website.

You can see which other MPs have signed by clicking here.


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