Itv 24 Hr Strike!

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BROADCASTING unions at ITV have voted to go on strike next Thursday after management failed to budge from an ‘insulting’ pay offer of 2 per cent.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at ITV overwhelmingly voted for action, with 80.6 per cent voting yes to industrial action short of a strike and 77.6 per cent voting yes for strike action on a strong turn-out. Members at BECTU and Unite also voted to go on strike.

The 24-hour strike on Thursday 14 May, to coincide with ITV’s AGM, could affect live programmes, including ITV news bulletins and Good Morning Britain. The unions had taken their case to Acas, the arbitration service, but ITV refused to compromise.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: ‘My members are not going to accept this cheap-as-chips pay offer when we know ITV is able to give Adam Crozier, its chief executive, a bonus of £8.4m and it has been on a £1.4bn spending spree on company buy-ups while its staff face hardship because of their paltry pay.

‘It is, frankly, an insult to offer 2 per cent to our members who were prepared make sacrifices when times were tough at ITV. Now, with fortunes on the turn and an increase of 6 per cent in advertising revenue last year, why is ITV being so mean? Our members have made their message clear. Unless ITV can come back with a better offer, they will be taking strike action next week.’

• The NUJ has condemned the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s (IPSO) decision to reject complaints about a column in the Sun newspaper by Katie Hopkins comparing migrants to cockroaches. The NUJ said: ‘By rejecting the complaint, IPSO has thrown further doubt on its own legitimacy.’

IPSO’s rejection was based on the commentary not referring to specific individuals and was therefore outside of IPSO’s powers and remit. In a reply to a complaint, IPSO said a large number of the complaints: ‘do not raise a possible breach of the code’.

It continues: ‘The concerns raised by the complainants that the article discriminated against migrants in general did not therefore raise a possible breach of clause 12.’

The NUJ said the union is dismayed by IPSO’s decision to rule out the complaints and IPSO’s decision again highlights the failure of both past and current regulators. Chris Frost, chair of the NUJ ethics council, said: ‘Vicious, racist and inflammatory articles impact on all of us. Katie Hopkins and the Sun should be held responsible for whipping up xenophobia and hostility. History has repeatedly shown that when sections of the media resort to describing people as “cockroaches” it only serves to inflame prejudicial hatred. Such language must be considered a breach of ethical codes.

‘The NUJ believes that a regulator should accept third party complaints and we also continue to argue that complaints that do not name specific individuals but disparage whole groups of people in society, whether they are migrants, asylum seekers, women, disabled or LGBT people, should be a potential breach of the code of practice.

‘IPSO describes itself as upholding the “highest standards of journalism”, so by rejecting complaints based on Katie Hopkins’ column they have simply thrown further doubt on their own legitimacy.’