ITV job cuts condemned by BECTU

Plans to cut up to 400 jobs with the closure of ITV facilities in Birmingham and Nottingham have provoked union outrage.

Management of the recently-merged ITV, formed when Carlton and Granada joined forces, announced today that they hope to cut Nottingham back to a news-only operation, and also plan a review of transmission and children's programming in Birmingham.

Nearly 400 jobs are at stake if the company's plan is executed.

"This is a slap in the face for a loyal and skilled workforce, and seriously undermines ITV's credibility in respect of its so-called commitment to the regions" commented BECTU official Sharon Elliott.

"The company strives to encourage its staff to see ITV plc as a new company offering a new era of opportunities and output to be proud of. The reality however is that the company has used the new legislation to cull staff and to boost its share price. What benefits to regional audience lie here?"

Today's announcement follows three months after ITV's first attack on jobs since the Carlton/Granada merger. In December last year plans were revealed for 154 job cuts at Southampton-based Meridian, representing half the station's staff. BECTU criticised the Meridian plan at the time as an attack on regional programme-making which could pave the way for further reductions across ITV.

In response to Meridian's claim that its restructuring as a "blueprint" for ITV's regions, Sharon Elliott said: "For the industry's staff the plan is more death warrant than blueprint. Ofcom and the DCMS really need to wake up to the fact that ITV plc is dismantling commercial broadcasting in the regions."

26 February 2004