ITV workers’ strike set to hit flagship programmes
Members of the Bectu and Amicus unions at ITV were set to strike on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week in their pay dispute. The strike involves over 700 broadcasting, production and studio staff at ITV centres in London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Norwich, Nottingham and Birmingham.
It could disrupt ITV’s major Saturday night programmes, such as Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
The strike involves a series of phased tactical stoppages at ITV’s largest sites.
Workers are angry at a 3.3 percent pay offer, made while chief executive Charles Allen gets a reported £8.4 million pay package.
Philip Windeatt, branch treasurer of Bectu’s ITV London branch, told Socialist Worker, “We have been offered a 3.3 percent pay rise, which comes after years of barely inflation rate offers. Our wages are devaluing.
“The company is back into profit of £340 million, but it is pushing through £120 million worth of cuts. There is a lot of anger among workers at ITV, especially people who have been there a long time.
“People have been joining the union in the last few weeks.
“Management is saying that it will work round the strike, but because it involves both unions that will be impossible. The action will be repeated on Friday of next week.”
Dave Stevens, an Amicus union rep in London, told Socialist Worker, “We have had virtually a two year pay freeze. We have also had job losses and streamlining. This was a result of ITV Digital going bust.
“Now the company’s come back into profit and we can’t get an inflation pay rise. All union members are out on Friday and Saturday of this week, and then people will be taking other forms of industrial action.
“The company is trying to take us on, and is not bowing down.”
Workers at the BBC were preparing to launch a strike ballot as Socialist Worker went to press against director general Mark Thompson’s plans to cut 3,700 jobs.
A BBC News 24 worker said, “The NUJ union has demanded a moratorium on changes in staffing levels for 90 days, no compulsory redundancies and meaningful dialogue.
“At BBC News 24 we are going to lose eight broadcasting journalists and one assistant editor. None of the higher ranking staff will go.
“Management have been running the channel on short staff for at least six months, so that we don’t feel the cuts when they hit. They are grinding us down. We are already stretched to the limit.”
Journalists at a number of regional newspapers owned by Trinity Mirror have voted to reject the company’s pay offer.
Members of the journalists’ NUJ union at Newcastle titles rejected a 2.75 percent offer while Liverpool members have voted against 2.9 percent.
The Birmingham Post and Mail and Coventry titles have gone to the Acas negotiating service after a 2.75 percent offer was improved.
Management have implemented the 2.75 percent deal in Chester and North Wales, where there is no union recognition.
Journalists in the NUJ union at the Daily Telegraph have voted to strike against 90 redundancies.
Members voted by 74 percent to take part in strike action and by 83 percent to take part in industrial action short of a strike.
Union members were set to meet on Tuesday of this week to plan their action.
After voting to strike, NUJ members at Express Newspapers were set to meet this week to decide what action to take. The dispute is over pay.