STV staff vote to bal­lot over strike

The Herald - - NEWS - STEPHEN NAY­SMITH

STAFF at the broad­caster STV are to bal­lot for in­dus­trial ac­tion in an at­tempt to force a re­think over plans to axe nearly 60 jobs and close loss-mak­ing dig­i­tal chan­nel STV2.

Mem­bers of the Na­tional Union of Jour­nal­ists (NUJ) voted unan­i­mously for a bal­lot yes­ter­day, which could see sup­port for the first strikes at the com­pany in many years. How­ever the 30-day con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod over re­dun­dan­cies means it will be a race against time for the work­ers.

An STV in­sider said em­ploy­ees had been left with no op­tion: “The man­age­ment are com­pletely re­struc­tur­ing our news out­put, but we don’t even have a head of news at the mo­ment. There is a great strength of feel­ing over this.

“This is cor­po­rate greed, just like the sto­ries we re­port on about BHS or Car­il­lion. Di­rec­tors place more im­por­tance on prof­its for share­hold­ers than on the wel­fare of their em­ploy­ees or the qual­ity of the prod­ucts.”

Pre­vi­ous head of news Gor­don Macmil­lan is un­der­stood to have left be­cause he was not pre­pared to implement the proposed changes. Staff are wor­ried the shake-up and re­dun­dan­cies will make STV more at­trac­tive for a takeover by ITV.

NUJ Scottish Or­gan­iser John Toner said a bal­lot would be held as soon as pos­si­ble. Staff would be seek­ing clar­ity about the ex­act na­ture of the pro­pos­als and whether those at risk of los­ing their jobs would be of­fered re­de­ploy­ment, at a meet­ing with man­age­ment on this morn­ing, he added.

Asked at First Min­is­ter’s Ques­tion Time about the pos­si­bil­ity of STV be­ing sold to ITV, Nicola Stur­geon de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as “very wor­ry­ing”.

But Ross Greer MSP, Cul­ture and Me­dia spokesper­son for the Scottish Greens, said STV’S plans were an in­dict­ment of a Scottish Gov­ern­ment’s scheme to pro­mote fair work prac­tices.

“The Busi­ness Pledge is clearly a joke if it in­cludes a com­pany that shov­els grotesque amounts of money to­wards its chief ex­ec­u­tive while al­low­ing the sack­ing of hard-work­ing front­line staff,” he said.

A STV spokesper­son said con­sul­ta­tion with staff was now un­der way. “We will con­tinue to lis­ten closely to the team’s con­cerns and ideas,” she added.

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