Unions lobby MPs over ITV job cuts

BECTU and the NUJ are organising a lobby of Parliament to protest at more than 500 redundancies in ITV.

The lobby runs from 1600 to 1800 on 23 March in Committee Room 16 in the House of Commons, and MPs who attend will be urged to support an Early Day Motion condemning the job cuts, tabled by Frank Doran MP.

Both unions believe that the job cuts - 154 at Meridian, and 400 at Carlton's Birmingham and Nottingham sites - will undemine ITV's obligations to produce programmes in the regions.

If the cuts go ahead, the newly-merged ITV is likely to use them as a blueprint for further cuts in regional centres, as the company consolidates its programme-making in just two or three cities.

When the merger of Carlton and Granada was first proposed, BECTU acknowledged that the move might be economically justified, but called on the government to make sure that the new company honoured its legal commitment to regional programming.

Letter to BECTU members

Save the ITV regions!

Dear Colleagues

Lobby of Parliament on the threat to ITV in the Regions

Tuesday 23 March, 4-6 pm Committee Room 16, House of Commons

You will be well aware of the further attack on regional broadcasting presented by ITV plc's proposals for 154 job losses at Meridian and 400 jobs losses across Birmingham and Nottingham in the Midlands.

In both cases the proposals - which the company says are a blueprint for its regional presence - add up to a major attack on staffing, a major loss of programme making capacity and a basic attack on essential and respected industry skills. Viewers are set to see a change in the style and range of programmes they receive and key broadcast skills are under threat.

Communities served by the Meridian and Carlton licences are angered by the proposals, as are the MPs who serve those communities. The influential parliamentary Select Committee on Broadcasting has levelled huge criticism at ITV questioning the company's commitment to the regions. Ofcom is also being called upon to intervene.

  • Help us to harness this support for the ITV regions. Attached please find a copy of a letter which is being sent to all MPs today. Use this letter to relay your concerns to your MP and to urge him or her to support the EDM (Early Day Motion) which is to be put down in the House next week by MP Frank Doran. (Copy also enclosed).
  • Support the Lobby - we hope that all ITV branches will be represented at the Lobby. We know that reps across the country will want to show their solidarity for their colleagues in Meridian and Carlton and that they will also want to warn against any further cuts in their own licences areas. The Lobby is a joint event with the NUJ who will also be encouraging participation from amongst their own reps. On the day reps will have an opportunity to call for support from their own MPs (and hopefully meet with them) and attend a meeting in the House from 4pm to be addressed by MPs and BECTU and NUJ speakers.
  • Please email Nigel Mason or Sharon Elliott to make arrangements to attend. nmason@bectu.org.uk or selliott@bectu.org.uk

We look forward to seeing you on the 23 March.

Yours truly

Sharon Elliott
Supervisory Official
Independent Broadcasting

Nigel Mason
National Official
Independent Broadcasting

22 March 2004