Strikes planned in ITV pay dispute

BECTU and Amicus have announced dates for industrial action in ITV companies after members rejected a 3.3% pay rise.

The action, consisting of phased tactical stoppages at several of ITV's largest sites, could disrupt programmes ranging from the live Saturday Ant and Dec show, and a new ITV series Hit Me Baby, to pre-recorded soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

Any members outside ITV, including freelancers, asked to work on these programmes, should follow this link for advice

More than 700 production, technical, and support staff are expected to join the action, which begins with a 36-hour stoppage from 0700 on Friday April 8 at LWT, Granada, Yorkshire TV, and Manchester facilities operation 3sixtymedia.

Members at these companies will be joined by colleagues who will walk out from 1200 to 1400 on the same day at Central TV's two sites in Nottingham and Birmingham, Anglia TV's base in Norwich, and ITV's southern control centre in London.

A further 12 hour stoppage will begin at Granada, Yorkshire, and 3sixtymedia, at 0700 hours on Sunday April 10 - a walkout added to the plan for industrial action after management tried to re-schedule staff to come to work that day, and make up for shooting time lost in the earlier strike.

During the following week, a work to rule will be imposed in many companies, with further targeted walkouts at LWT, Granada, Yorkshire, and 3sixty media.

Last week, March 24, members across ITV voted to reject the company's lastest 3.3% pay offer, and proceed with industrial action.

Anger over the management's attitude to pay talks was inflamed when ITV revealed annual profits of £340 million, due in part to its success in cutting jobs and increasing productivity.

Fat cat bonuses to company executives did nothing to sooth feelings - CEO Charles Allen received a reported £8.4 million package, and ITV's Finance Director was rumoured to be earning more than a million pounds per year.

Sharon Elliott, BECTU's official for independent broadcasting, said: "ITV is traditionally regarded as a high-payer, but the fact is that high pay applies only to a few staff. Constant cost-cutting, coupled with an enduring long-hours culture, particularly in programme production, puts ITV below average when it comes to pay.

"Some staff in the company are paid as little aas £11,000 a year, and at a time when savings targets have been exceeded by 20%, mainly through more than 1,500 job cuts, staff deserve a substantial increase".

Mike Smallwood, Amicus officer for broadcasting, said: "Our members have had enough of the company's penny-pinching when it comes to staff pay rises. Managers and directors are being awarded substantial amounts, yet staff are being told that they must be kept in line with inflation."

Both unions have attempted to conduct pay talks directly with ITV, which has now consolidated most regional operators into one company, but without success.

1 April 2005
Amended 1 April 2005