ITV Wales Assembly lobby

BECTU and the NUJ have lobbied the Welsh Assembly over the future of ITV Wales.

A delegation from the unions met with Alun Pugh, Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport in the Welsh Assembly, and Rosemary Butler, Chair of the Culture Committee to discuss concerns over the future of ITV Wales.

The unions outlined the background to these concerns: the recent redundancies in ITV Wales, Ofcom's Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) Review, ITV's cutbacks in Meridian and Central, and the stated objective of moving to smaller premises.

The unions raised concerns that ITV will seek to persuade Ofcom to decrease the hours of regional programming required by their licences, and that they will attempt to reduce ITV Wales to the same model being rolled out in Meridian and Central, delivering local news and the minimum amount of regional programmes demanded by the licence.

BECTU pointed out that the relocation to smaller premises could necessitate the loss of some of the work currently undertaken at Culverhouse Cross, such as making programmes for S4C.

The union also raised the current redundancies in ITV Wales in web design, payroll and subtitling.

The union believes that senior politicians in Wales recognise and share some of the concerns and that there is a belief in the Assembly that the decline of ITV Wales will result in a loss to Welsh cultural and political life.

The Culture, Welsh Language and Sport Committee of the National Assembly of Wales are due to meet ITV in September and Ofcom in October, so these meetings were a timely opportunity for the unions to highlight these issues and to lobby politicians.

The National Assembly has made a formal contribution to Ofcom's PSB Review that will be in the public domain in the next few weeks.

30 July 2004