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ITV stages strike over pay, as network reports ad revenue rise

ITV yesterday reported a 12 per cent rise in advertising revenues, to £754 million in the first three months of the year, on the same day that the network’s staff held a strike over a pay award of 2 per cent.

ITV yesterday reported a 12 per cent rise in advertising revenues, to £754 million in the first three months of the year, on the same day that the network’s staff held a strike over a pay award of 2 per cent. The widespread action was supported by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), BECTU and Unite, and included a protest at the ITV Shareholders’ AGM in Westminster.

Speaking to TVBEurope, BECTU general secretary Gerry Morrissey (pictured, right, with NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet), commented that the strike showed “how deep staff feelings are running at ITV’s current approach to their pay. The company’s profitability and sky-high awards for executives, demonstrate that staff deserve more than the 2 per cent which has been imposed. The current award is grossly unfair and we hope ITV management will now take the views of their staff seriously to avoid further disruption.”

Members of the technicians’ union Bectu and the NUJ voted in favour of industrial action by 67 per cent and 77 per cent in protest at the pay award.

ITV’s first annual report following Adam Crozier’s appointment as CEO in 2010 showed a £321 million profit, with year-on-year growth reaching £712 million in 2014. Shareholders were promised year-on-year dividend increases of 20 per cent over three years and Crozier’s salary has seen a significant increase during his time at the network.

Yesterday ITV reported a 14 per cent rise in total external revenue to £665 million in the first quarter, up from £585 million a year before. Broadcast and Online revenue rose to £530 million from £480 million, boosted by strong growth in net advertising revenue and further growth in its Online, Pay and Interactive business. However, success at the top seems not to have filtered down to the network’s thousands of staff, with the 2 per cent pay award falling below inflation at last October, the month used in Bectu’s management union negotiations.

ITV’s Good Morning was one of the show’s affected by the strike: journalist Martin Lewis was absent from his usual slot on the show, and presenter Susanna’s Reid’s absence was reportedly explained by an ITV spokesperson as a pre-planned day off.

Trade unions voiced their support across Twitter and across the country’s picket lines, outside studios in London, Salford, Cardiff and Birmingham.

Crozier has since played down the scale of the protest, and stated that the company is almost certainly not going to improve its offer of a 2 per cent rise.

Image credit: BECTU/Guy Smallman

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