ITV members petition Tony Blair
BECTU and NUJ union reps fighting cuts in ITV Midlands have delivered a 20,000 signature petition to 10 Downing Street.
Supported by four MPs from constituencies affected by a plan to close ITV's studios in Nottingham, a delegation of union representatives yesterday presented petition forms against the cuts which had been gathered during a popular public campaign among viewers in the region.
ITV, formed by the merger of Carlton TV and Granada, is pressing ahead with the closure of its Nottingham studios where local redundancies, added to more job cuts in Birmingham, mean a total of 361 post losses.
Unions and local politicians have warned that this spells the end of network ITV production in the Midlands, and BECTU has called on the TV industry regulator Ofcom to use its powers to protect local production in the region.
After the petition was handed in to Downing Street on June 29, a group of Labour MPs from local seats announced that they had jointly demanded a meeting with Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell to discuss the looming job losses in Midlands ITV.
The West Midlands Group of Labour MPs had already been given an assurance by Ofcom that ITV would be obliged to produce programming that reflected the Midlands, but had not yet been told whether ITV would accept its obligations.
BECTU National Official Nigel Mason commented, "It was a very useful meeting with the West Midlands MPs and it was good to find them well briefed on the issues and sharing our concerns.
"They clearly understood the threat of job losses, and the economic and cultural impact which the region will suffer if ITV moves network production away from the area."
Other MPs, from a range of political parties, have sent letters of support to BECTU following publication of a union briefing document on the history and future of ITV network production in the Midlands.