Staff bids excluded from ITV news consortia bidding
25 March 2010
ITN/ITV staff bids have been excluded from the bidding for three government-proposed ITV 'news consortia' to provide local news for Scotland, Wales and the north east of England. The NUJ has expressed 'shock and dismay' at the decision.
Sue Harris, NUJ broadcasting organiser, said:
"While the remit for the consortia is broader than the production of regional news for ITV, it seems almost perverse to ignore the considerable existing experience and professional skills of those who have worked in the industry to provide a public service.
"We made clear at the beginning of the bidding exercise that the unions would insist on the transfer of existing ITV staff to the new ventures and that remains our position.
"It is also vital that that current levels of funding, quality and quantity of output are retained, as a minimum. In addition, to serve the public interest the successful consortia must invest any profits into producing content, rather using it for shareholders or as management bonuses."
Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser, said:
"I was absolutely shocked to hear that the Newsquest-led consortium was successful in the bid for the Scottish independently financed news consortia (IFNC). This is a company that has difficulty producing its daily papers and its recent track record on reporting news without editorial interference is shocking, with the whole of the Scottish industry talking about it.
"The managing editor couldn't spell impartiality, let alone practise it in running a broadcasting operation. The other major concern we have is in relation to Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment regulations and the STV staff conditions. Assurances that Newsquest provided when it took over the SMG titles – Glasgow Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times – were completely worthless."