ITV members lobby Minister
Tessa Jowell, Minister for Culture Media and Sport, was met by Midlands based BECTU members at a conference in Birmingham today.
The members, all employed by ITV, were protesting at the threatened closure of up to 400 jobs in the Midlands following the merger of Carlton and Granada.
Carlton's studios in Nottingham are planned to close completely, with the loss of 200 jobs, while another 200 jobs face the axe in Birmingham.
BECTU representatives told the Minister, who was attending a conference organised by the Royal Television Society, that ITV's long term strategy was to centralise production and transmission in London, and possibly just two other centres in the UK. More than 100 jobs had already been axed at Meridien in the South of England, and the latest round of redundancies would further reduce TV production facilities in the Midlands, already hit by the BBC's move out of Birmingham's Pebble Mill.
The union has called publicly on ITV to reverse the cuts, and stick to its obligations under the Communications Act to provide significant regional production.
Local MPs have been contacted by BECTU, and have all expressed concern about the impact on the local economy, and local politics, of the large-scale closures planned by ITV in the Midlands.
Union campaigners now intend to keep Tessa Jowell informed about the progress of negotiations in which BECTU and the NUJ will be fighting to keep studio centres open.