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26/02/2004

ITV axes up to 400 jobs as Central TV studio closes

Almost 200 staff at Central TV studios in Nottingham face the dole and 200 more jobs are under threat at the nearby Birmingham studio operation as Carlton move to trim back the merged operation with Granada.
The NUJ hit out at the closure as "the end of ITV programme making in Nottingham" and sounding the "death knell" for ITV programme commitment in the Midlands.
Managing Director of Central TV Ian Squires announced the closure of the Nottingham studios to staff today would result in the loss of 200 jobs.
The NUJ have warned that the current reviews of Central TV programming operations are likely to mean more job losses may follow.
The NUJ's National Broadcasting Organiser Paul McLaughlin said: “The proposals to close Nottingham studios with the loss of hundreds of jobs will cut right into the heart of the Midlands community.
“In the process a corps of hundreds of highly skilled broadcast workers will be cast asunder.”
Central have announced the building of a “newsgathering centre” in the East Midlands, but Mr McLaughlin said: “It is not just about regional and local news, but programmes. These plans sound the death knell for ITV’s regional broadcasting commitment and should not be allowed to go ahead.
“Regional communities deserve a proper broadcasting service, but for Central it seems it’s the shareholders who gain and the viewers who lose. In the long run the shareholders will lose as well because Central will not be a proper competitor to other broadcasters.”
Today's Guardian newspaper reported that 75 top Carlton-Granada bosses were enjoying an "away day" jolly at the £169-a-night Park Lane Hilton.
A poorly timed move that has caused outrage among the hundreds of staff facing the axe in the Midlands.
NUJ members are being urged to write to their MPs to ask them to support the campaign against the Central TV closures.
According to the NUJ, Mansfield MP Alan Meale has tabled a Parliamentary motion that the NUJ wants all MPs to sign.
It is understood that ITV plans to build a £5 million newsgathering studio at an undisclosed location in the Midlands.
(SP)
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