Disruption threat

STV news staff vote for industrial action over pay

STV News
STV News programmes could be disrupted

Journalists at STV have voted for industrial action over pay that could disrupt programming during a summer of sport and a general election.

A ballot by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) resulted in 89% of members backing walkouts that could it coverage of the Euro 2024 men’s football tournament which kicks off on 14 June, while the Olympics begins in July. A general election is due in the second half of the year.

The vote comes a week after Simon Pitts, STV’s chief executive, announced he will be leaving next year after building Scotland’s biggest television news audience.

Nick McGowan-Lowe, the NUJ’s national organiser for Scotland, said: “This is an overwhelming result which should make the STV board wake up and listen to its staff.

“Our members are dedicated and talented professionals who have made STV Scotland’s most-watched peak-time TV channel for the fifth consecutive year — but they have had enough of being told they should accept below-inflation pay rises at a time when the company boasts of record revenues.

“This situation is quickly resolvable as soon as the company comes back to the table with a fair offer but the longer they refuse to do so, the angrier advertisers and audiences will get as their favourite programmes are affected.”

The NUJ, which is seeking a 6% pay rise, said STV management had failed to offer a resolution after last-minute talks with Acas, the arbitration service. Union members will meet today to consider the form and timescale of industrial action.

STV said that despite revenues of £168.4 million last year it could not afford to grant a pay rise that matches inflation for all employees, in what were difficult market conditions.

It said that “contingency plans” were in place for strikes and that less than half of its newsroom were members of the NUJ. It said that the majority of staff would receive an above-inflation pay rise under the deal on the table and that it was prepared to discuss bonuses.

“We’re disappointed by the outcome of this vote by NUJ members,” a spokeswoman said. “Virtually all business sectors are facing sustained economic challenges.

“This is the most difficult and prolonged advertising downturn that the commercial media sector has faced and STV is not immune from it. In this climate, the offer made to NUJ members is both fair and financially responsible.”

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