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16/01/2006

Union members at ITV back in-house security

More than 1,000 ITV staff have signed a petition against privatisation of the company's security operation.
Security staff employed by ITV plc are being forced to live with continuing uncertainty about their future as the company delays a decision on a possible contracting-out exercise.
In just two weeks over the Christmas and New Year period more than 1,000 ITV staff signed a petition in support of their security colleagues. Bectu, the union which represents the company’s security team, believes their members are being treated "abominably".
Senior management last wrote to affected staff in November advising that no more news on the findings of the security review would be available until January; staff were first advised that the company was reviewing its security operation last June. Seven months on and no firm proposals have been announced.
"ITV’s continued delay in concluding its review is causing worry and anxiety for security staff and their families. The lack of direction from the company is nothing short of callous as staff are left in limbo, unsure about what the future holds," commented Bectu official Sharon Elliott.
ITV currently employs both staff security officers and contract security. At the company’s sites in Norwich (ITV Anglia); London (LWT); Leeds (ITV Yorkshire) and Manchester (Granada) a mix of staff and contract workers are employed on each site. At sites in Cardiff (ITV Wales) and Bristol (ITV West) the teams are all-staff. In total 63 staff jobs are under threat of transfer and some 48 contract security workers also face upheaval in their employment.
The company has indicated that TUPE (transfer of undertakings) regulations would apply if it decides to contract out; however it is well known that TUPE protection falls far short of what is needed to ensure no worsening of terms and conditions where staff move from one employer to another.
Security company Reliance is the only outside company left in the bidding for the security contract.
"Many of our staff security members have worked for the company for years," explained Sharon Elliott. "They have remained loyal and flexible through the good times and bad. Perhaps the biggest worry for staff is about the future of their pension provision as TUPE law provides no protection in this vital area."
New statutory regulations on the licensing of security staff come into effect in March 2006. The new rules will require every security officer up and down the country, throughout industry, to secure an individual licence permitting them to work as security staff. Other employers are taking steps now to ensure that their security staff are licensed and are meeting the costs of the application and the necessary checks.
"BECTU wrote to ITV before Christmas to ask what steps it is taking to ensure that its security staff comply with the new regulations. We are still waiting for a response," confirmed Elliott.
(GB)
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