BBC and ITV accused of bad faith over plans to share facilities
12 March 2009
The BBC and ITV announced today that a memorandum of understanding has been reached that would see the BBC share its regional news facilities with ITV. Broadcasting unions, the NUJ and BECTU, accused them of bad faith.
The proposals outline a long term Service Level Agreement involving the sharing of infrastructure and facilities at BBC premises. Since the possibility was first broached several months ago, the unions have been seeking meetings regarding what has been dubbed effectively a takeover of regional news by the BBC.
To date, there has been no formal consultation with the joint unions about the proposals by either broadcaster. They said:
"These conversations have been cloaked in secrecy and their progression hidden from staff and unions alike. This despite repeated calls for clarification and serious concerns being raised by members in both organisations."
Both unions are expressing major doubts regarding the impact of the plans on members, on programming, on editorial independence and on the service available to local audiences.
"Both the BBC and ITV say that their intention is to protect diverse regional output for the longer term; The joint unions have expressed serious doubts and believe that this proposal has far more to do with cost-cutting and a possible further risk to jobs, that it has to do with the delivery of effective news services."