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23/03/2009

Broadcasters Accused Of Bad Faith On Sharing Resource Plan

Media and entertainment union BECTU and the journalists' union the NUJ have joined forces to accuse both the BBC and ITV of "bad faith" following their confirmation of plans to share regional news resources.
The controversial move follows earlier proposed cuts and the March announcement by the broadcasters of their agreement on a 'memorandum of understanding'.
It outlines proposals for a long term Service Level Agreement which involves the sharing of infrastructure and facilities at BBC premises.
According to BECTU, these conversations have been "cloaked in secrecy" and their progression hidden from staff and unions alike.
The union believes that, since the possibility was first broached several months ago, the recognised unions have been seeking meetings about what has been dubbed, effectively, a takeover of regional news by the BBC.
Yet, there has been no formal consultation with the joint unions about the proposals by either broadcaster.
"What is worse, both broadcasters have denied that talks have been on-going," said a press statement.
"These conversations have been cloaked in secrecy and their progression hidden from staff and unions alike.
"This, despite repeated calls for clarification and serious concerns being raised by members in both organisations," said the statement issued by BECTU and the NUJ.
Both unions have expressed major doubts about the impact of the plans on their members, on programming, on editorial independence and on the service available to local audiences.
The latest controversy follows BECTU's calling upon Ofcom and Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture Media and Sport, to "step in" to stop further damage being done to programme making capacity at ITV.
Earlier in the same month, BECTU members at ITV Yorkshire were said to be expecting to face the loss of as many as 150 jobs at their site.
ITV planned to move substantial levels of production away from Leeds to save money as part of the overall reorganisation.
The union pledged to do everything possible to support staff through the consultations with management.
"The company cannot expect to hold on to any enduring and consistent reputation for quality output," said BECTU, noting that ITV staff that want to back BECTU and its team in the detailed work should come and take advantage of the union's support by joining BECTU.
(BMcC/JM)
VMI.TV Ltd

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