Journalists start strike action at STV over pay

  • 27 Mar 2024

Members at STV are on strike on Thursday 28 March after a ballot showed overwhelming support in favour of industrial action following the break down in pay talks at the Scottish broadcaster.

It is set to be the first day of a programme of disruption to its flagship news programming this spring and summer. Tomorrow’s strike will empty newsrooms across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The NUJ is seeking a 6 per cent rise for members to keep pace with inflation after a record cost-of-living crisis last year. The company has offered this increase for the bottom 3 per cent of earners, saying it cannot afford to pay more for the remaining staff despite making over £20m in profit on record revenues last year.

Nick McGowan-Lowe, national organiser, said:

“Journalists at STV have not just been reporting on the cost-of-living crisis – they’ve been experiencing it too. Our members across Scotland produce the award-winning journalism that is the flagship of the STV brand and are only asking for their pay to keep track with inflation.

“Simon Pitts, STV chief executive, was paid over £900,000 from the company last year – and only a small fraction of that would settle this dispute. He and the STV board needs to listen to members and come back to the table with a fair offer.”

Salaries for journalists at STV have fallen behind those paid in equivalent roles at the BBC or ITV. About a third of the newsroom, including experienced reporters, are earning less than the starting salary for a teacher, and around 80 per cent of the newsroom earning less than a teacher with five years’ experience.

A second strike day has been set for Tuesday 16 April with further industrial action expected if the situation cannot be resolved.

The company recently announced it made £168.4m as its studios division smashed its profit targets. Despite a difficult advertising market, it still recorded an adjusted operating profit of £20.1m, in line with expectations. Between 2019 and 2023 STV made a total of £97.3 million adjusted operating profit on total revenues of £681.6 million. In the past seven months it has gone on a spending spree, purchasing Greenbird Media for £21.4m in July 2023 and in January 2024 doubling its stake in Two Cities television to become a majority shareholder.

STV holds the channel 3 licence to cover central and north Scotland, and is the only part of channel 3 which is independent from ITV.

Find out how you can support the strike and access information on pickets on the STV campaign page. 

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