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26/11/2003

ITV plc duo announce huge cost saving expectations

Carlton and Granada have revealed expected cost savings of £100 million in the wake of the government's final approval of their merger.
Second Interim results for the 12 months ended 30 September 2003 showed that £43 million has already been saved, with a further £57 million expected after the merger is completed.
Between them the companies made profits of £240 million before interest, tax amortisation and exceptional items, but the huge leap in predicted cost savings has fuelled concern among many observers that redundancies across the merged group are inevitable. They point to the loss of 175 jobs at Granada subsidiary Meridian as an example.
Neither company has specified exactly how the saving are to be made.
Granada are already facing a conflict with trade unions, with a strike ballot being run across the company in protest at an imposed 2% pay rise.
All three unions at the TV companies owned by Granada are due to send out ballot papers on December 12, asking if members are willing to strike in order to win a better pay deal.
Bectu, the NUJ, and Amicus have all rejected the 2% offer made by the management, who also turned down a union demand for a minimum salary of £13,500 at the company.
A meeting of union representatives on Tuesday November 25 voted to support a strike in response to the company's failure to table a better offer by last Friday. Members were also angered by Granada's decision to impose the 2% rise without agreement from unions.
(GB)
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