Advertisement

STV journalists to walk out in bid for pay rise

STV
Strike action could disrupt news programmes at the broadcaster

News programmes at Scottish broadcaster STV could be blacked out because of a 24 hour strike by journalists.

Members of the NUJ union at the company want a 6% pay rise.

The broadcaster says its pay offer - which has been accepted by other staff at the company- is fair and affordable.

Network programmes and commercials will be broadcast as usual. If the dispute is not resolved, another one-day strike will take place next month.

Wednesday's news bulletins and the current affairs programme Scotland Tonight are at risk and could be replaced by other material. Online news services will also likely be affected.

It is understood that no attempt will be made to produce news bulletins, including the main STV News at Six, using staff who are not on strike.

There will be pickets outside STV's studios in Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen and a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

The NUJ is seeking a 6% rise for members to help keep pace with inflation.

The union argues salaries for journalists at the company have fallen behind the pay for equivalent roles at the BBC and ITV, which runs the rest of the channel three network.

'Award-winning journalism'

Nick McGowan-Lowe, the union's national organiser for Scotland, said: "Journalists at STV have not just been reporting on the cost-of-living crisis - they've been experiencing it too.

"Our members across Scotland produce the award-winning journalism that is the flagship of the STV brand and are only asking for their pay to keep track with inflation.

"Simon Pitts, STV chief executive, was paid over £900,000 from the company last year - and only a small fraction of that would settle this dispute. He and the STV board needs to listen to members and come back to the table with a fair offer," he added.

The union claims about a third of newsroom staff at STV are earning less than the starting salary of a teacher and that most earn less than a teacher with five years' experience.

'Unrealistic and unaffordable'

STV said it invests £8m a year in news and described the NUJ's pay claim as "unrealistic and unaffordable".

The company said: "We've continued to engage with the NUJ with the aim of finding resolution and we remain open to further dialogue, but their claim for an above inflation pay increase of 6% is unrealistic and unaffordable.

"In this current economic climate, the offer made is both fair and financially responsible and is already being paid to over 85% of our colleagues across the rest of the business, including news colleagues in the BECTU union who voted to accept the award.

"Our enhanced offer of this week, which included confirmation of a bonus for all STV employees - as we won't agree a separate deal for NUJ members - was rejected by the NUJ.

"Contingency plans are in place."

The NUJ has another strike planned for 16 April.