ITN unions oppose cuts

ITN unions will not accept cuts in quality or jobs as a result of a new ITV contract.

ITN (Independent Television News) announced today (12 November) that it was seeking volunteers for redundancy following the cut of more than 25 per cent in the price ITV will pay for its national news under a new contract.

More than 100 jobs are under threat - BECTU and NUJ representatives are to meet ITN management tomorrow (13 November).

ITN unions have declared that they won't accept a decline in the quality of news, nor compulsory job losses, as a result of the terms of its new contract with the ITV companies.

Last week the ITV Network renewed its five-yearly contract with ITN at a price of £33 million a year.

The previous contract was worth £45 million a year. Ten years ago it was £80 million. The renewed contract was won in competition with a five-company consortium that included Sky News, which is understood to have offered to take the contract for £27 million a year.

Sharon Elliott, BECTU's official for ITV, said the unions would be approaching the Independent Television Commission to ensure that the ITV companies kept to the obligation in their licences to provide quality news.

"The ITC must be sure that the companies' commitment is not compromised by this new agreement," said Sharon Elliott.

Paul McLaughin, NUJ National Broadcasting Organiser said: "We will scrutinise these plans very carefully, but this calls into question ITV's commitment to news. Our members at ITN work hard to ensure that the public receives a quality alternative to the BBC. They deserve the resources and security to do the job.

"ITN must take a long term view. A knee-jerk reaction, as well as damaging our members, could damage ITN as a major player. The ITV contract has been extended and this allows for proper resource planning.

"We will be expecting a guarantee of no compulsory job losses, and compensation terms for those that leave that are at least as good as those in our current agreement."

12 November 2001