Thursday, September 13, 2007

Punched in the guts - ITV workers respond

Yesterday's proposals by the head of ITV Michael Grade to axe half of regional news services, cut the budget by £40m and threaten hundreds of job losses has provoked fury among union members across the company. One rep described it as like being "punched in the guts".

Today, NUJ reps in an emergency meeting have sent a clear warning they will fight the proposals - in the first instance through lobbying broadcasting regulator OFCOM to block the proposals, and urging the government to intervene to save regional news on ITV.

But we're also clear that if the plans are acted upon - if services are cut or jobs are axed - we will urge a ballot for strike action.

Reps unanimously backed the following motion:
This meeting of NUJ ITV M/Focs deplores ITV's proposals to slash regional news and we urge the regulator Ofcom to reject them.
The plan to cut the local news budget by £40 million will lead to the loss of many hundreds of jobs.
It also signals the death of much-loved regional news programmes across the country which have been part of the fabric of viewers' lives over decades.
ITV's five-year plan includes ideas for raising revenue. The NUJ believes there are alternative ways of raising sufficient funds without sacrificing regional news and jobs. We will be tabling our proposals to ITV management in planned talks over the coming weeks.
The NUJ will fight to protect regional news services on ITV by any means necessary, including strike action at a time of our choosing. We will also be working together with other unions, MP's and the public, who warmly support their regional news programmes.
ITV's plans, if unchallenged would be a betrayal of their loyal viewers and our members.

ITV's plans to cut regional news spending by £40m will spell the death of regional news. ITV launched new programmes over the last couple of years promising to bring "your local news closer to you". Now they are planning cuts that could mean a single service covering every city, town and village between Tewkesbury and Land's End. That's not local news it's cost-cutting at the expense of public service.

The NUJ alongside our sister union Bectu, over the coming days will launch a major campaign to Save ITV Regional News calling on members, MPs, viewers and listeners to join with us. Watch this space...

STOP PRESS: Nottingham MP Graham Allen is among the first to go public on opposition to planned cuts in ITV Regional News Services. Click here for more

The issues faced by ITV staff are at the heart of what the NUJ's Stand up for Journalism campaign is all about - protecting quality media. See why David Beake, an ITV journalist and NUJ rep is standing up for journalism here


Alan Murphy said...

Hi Jeremy

Nice to see your blog - perhaps you could address the issue of the Drogheda Independent and how sits with the "Stand Up for Journalism Campaign" - I would be interested to read your opinions before the next NEC.


Alan Murphy
NUJ Member

ian said...

Hi jeremy
Pleased to see you involved in the world of blogging. I will provide a link to your blog via mine.