Entertainment & Arts

ITV staff staging 24-hour strike

ITV protest Image copyright PA
Image caption Union members and supporters staged a protest outside the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre where ITV were holding their AGM

ITV staff are staging a 24-hour strike and holding a protest outside the broadcaster's annual meeting, in a dispute over pay.

Members of the technicians' union Bectu and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted in favour of industrial action in protest at a 2% pay award.

ITV said it was "confident" that viewers would be unaffected.

Two daytime shows that are normally broadcast live, This Morning and Loose Women, were pre-recorded on Wednesday.

ITV confirmed they will still go out in their normal slots.

Unions have been pressing for a bigger wage increase in view of the TV company's profits.

The company's pre-tax profits - including exceptional items - rose 39% to £605m for 2014.

Bectu general secretary Gerry Morrissey said staff were "very unhappy" with the pay offer.

'Huge disparity'

"There is a huge disparity between the pay offered to staff and the bonus package to executives as well as shareholder dividends.

"Our members are helping to make the profits but are not sharing in them."

An ITV spokesman said: "We are fully prepared to maintain an open dialogue with union representatives following the ballot result, which saw 226 union members voting to strike out of a UK workforce of 3,000 employees.

Image caption Personal finance journalist Martin Lewis tweeted he will "not cross the picket line"

"We have contingency plans in place to ensure that our programmes will continue to be broadcast and are confident that viewers will be unaffected by the proposed industrial action."

Good Morning Britain was the first live ITV show of the day to be affected by the strike.

Martin Lewis, of moneysavingexpert.com, announced that he would not be presenting his weekly slot on ITV's breakfast programme.

On Wednesday he tweeted: "Sadly I won't be doing deals of the week on Good Morn Brit tomorrow due to ITV strike. As NUJ member I prefer not to cross picket lines."

Presenter Susanna Reid did not appear on Thursday's edition of Good Morning Britain. A spokesman for ITV said she was on a pre-arranged day off.

There are picket lines outside studios in London, Salford, Cardiff and Birmingham.

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