Everybody out! 

24 March 2005 tbs.pm/441

BBC News: ITV staff to strike over pay deal

When ITV converted from being a broadcaster to being a FTSE100 ‘profit centre’ company last year, the management were delighted. After all, becoming the country’s second-largest private broadcaster meant cash cash cash for the board of the new entity.

Of course, this money bonanza didn’t drip down to the staff (that’s not how capitalism works, after all). Instead, the staff were made redundant and replaced by cheep freelancers – or simply not replaced at all.

Whilst paying the board massive bonuses and sacking staff is not unusual or illegal, strangely, it is unfashionable. Especially with the poor workers who are on the sharp end of a dud pay deal whilst Charles Allen rolls around on piles of money.

Unsurprisingly, BECTU isn’t best pleased either, and the result is a production staff strike after Easter.

Modern ways of working mean that the viewers are unlikely to see much in the way of disruption on-air when the strikes hit. The damage will purely be financial to ITV plc – thoughtfully hitting the company exactly in the place they care most about (viewers come in about 12th on this scale – just after carbon paper).

But there will be greater damage to ITV. The ITV brand itself could easily be tarnished by this – after all, the viewers have never really warmed to it (and they’ve had since 1989, so if it hasn’t happened yet…) and ITV themselves don’t really seem to know how to put their core values over.

Associating ITV’s core values with strikes, underpaid workers and mass redundancies wouldn’t seem to be the ideal way of getting the brand into our hearts and minds. Coupled with ITV’s spring and summer schedules – Celebrity Bonking, Celebrity Shark Food, Celebrity Mud Wrestling, Celebrity Nervous Breakdowns, Celebrity Kitchens, Celebrity Faded Popstars, Celebrity Hypnotic Regression and Celebrity I’m A Celebrity No Honestly OK Then I Will Be Once The Programme Airs – the last thing ITV needs is to have their poor brand made poorer still.

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