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Jobs at risk at ITV Westcountry as channel seeks to 'deliver financial savings'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 10, 2012

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More jobs could be lost at ITV Westcountry after the broadcaster invited applications for voluntary redundancy, it has emerged.

Staff were informed of the move on Friday but ITV has not disclosed how many jobs could go or how much money it is looking to save.

It is also unclear whether further redundancies could be threatened if not enough volunteers come forward over the next two weeks.

One member of the team in the Westcountry, who asked not be named, said it was "no surprise" that ITV News was looking to cut costs again.

But they said the timing, just a few weeks after staff had accepted working an additional 10 hours per month for no extra pay, had taken some people aback.

"At the moment the company is keeping its cards very close to its chest as to how many people it wants to see leave," the staff member said.

"There is no clear picture as to how badly we might be affected. We may be less affected than some of the big players, such as Granada, who largely escaped the last round of redundancies."

The last major job cuts at ITV Westcountry were made four years ago when regional news programmes were merged with ITV West with bulletins being broadcast from Bristol.

About 80 jobs were axed as part of a nationwide scheme to reduce the broadcaster's costs by some £40 million.

"Staff understood that everyone has been affected by the state of the economy and that we are no different," the staff member added. "We are not just reporting it but living it is as well.

"But there is still a sense of annoyance at the timing considering what we have been through in terms of our hours and workload.

"I think there will be people who come forward and the worry for us is that we might lose some very experienced members of staff, which is good for the company and its bottom line, but which will adversely affect the quality of programmes."

In an internal e-mail to staff on Friday, Rachel Gledhill, head of human resources for ITV News, said it was "required to operate efficiently and operate in a commercial way, which includes the delivery of some financial savings before the end of this year".

She added: "As you know we are moving forward with some proposals for change including changes to our terms and conditions and within the next couple of months we will be announcing proposals to change some of the roles within our newsrooms.

"We appreciate that some colleagues will seek an alternative option to these changes and to assist with that we have decided to open a voluntary redundancy window in advance of any formal consultation process.

"We are doing this now so that individuals can think clearly and carefully about whether or not they wish to be part of the future at ITV."

A spokesman for ITV said: "Our priority is to continue to invest in regional news on an economically sustainable basis. The communication we have shared with staff is about a continuing future for news, and ensuring that our newsrooms are reflective of changing ways of working and improvements in technology and workflows across broadcasting.

"Providing colleagues with options is we believe the best way forward and is why at this stage we have to decided to open a voluntary redundancy process."

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  • realityzone  |  September 12 2012, 8:59PM

    What is it about this character Dave_David that he is always on a hair trigger to make snide and inaccurate remarks about other people who are engaged in discussing the subject raised in the title, but has nothing to contribute on the subject itself. Its an abuse of the opportunity to take part in these debates. For goodness sake grow up!

  • Dave_David  |  September 12 2012, 6:00PM

    PL1Plym....'realityzone' is an expert on most things, even uses two names on here.

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  • PLYMFOX01  |  September 12 2012, 12:05AM

    ITV's Westcountry Tonight is already a very poor offering. At least Spotlight is still broadcast from Plymouth and out of the two I watch Spotlight if I am at home. If you live in West Cornwall for example why on earth would you want to know what is happening 250 miles away in Swindon on what is meant to be your local news programme? How Swindon is classed as the west is beyond me. ITV's local news service generally is poor. In the Midlands for example there were separate local news programmes for the East and West Midlands broadcast from Nottingham and Birmingham respectively. This lasted from 1982 until around 2009. The studios in Nottingham (which were purpose built- shows like Family Fortunes were done there) closed and everything was transferred to Birmingham just like it used to be pre 1982. The BBC to their credit still have far more regional news programmes than ITV, but for how long is another story.

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  • PL1Plym  |  September 11 2012, 9:03PM

    Did you study "media"at school realityzone? lol

    |   -2
  • realityzone  |  September 11 2012, 1:57PM

    Simon Hall may well be the only TV journalist covering hard(ish) new in the South West. The pity is that his delivery to camera is appalling. He phrasing lacks any kind of logical punctuation. If the way he speaks was written down you would decide that the commas and full stops are all in the wrong places. And when are BBC reporters going to get away from the boring cliche of walking towards the camera at the start of virtually every story.

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  • FromMendip  |  September 10 2012, 10:29PM

    "The BBC is the better option out of the two channels on offer,it's not brilliant but at least covers the true South West and not Bristol,Gloucester,and Wiltshire that ITV class as in the southwest broadcasting area.To be honest I'm not really bothered what happens there as no doubt people up there don't really class is as "local".I agree though that ITV hasn't been the same since Gus was put out for stud." I can assure those in the 'true South West' that people in Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wilshire are as equally fed up with having to put up with Devon and Cornwall news as those in these counties are with with the news from the counties further north and east. Incidentally, the station is called ITV Westcountry. The West Country is generally accepted as the area around Greater Bristol. At least, it is in the rest of the UK if not in Devon and Cornwall. The programme is absolute rubbish anyway, whether covering Devon/Cornwall or the area around Bristol. I visit Devon regularly to stay with relatives and have seen the BBC's Spotlight. It's as dull and unimaginative as BBC Bristol's Points West which is grim. Local telly news is past its sell-by date. The internet is always so much more up to the minute.

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  • realityzone  |  September 10 2012, 10:02PM

    Spotlight is very slick and professional in its presentation but is predictable and formulaic to the point of tedium. The BBC already has the monopoly of our license fee, soon it will have the monopoly of local and regional news. In this multi channel age that is a disgrace. It's time the BBC was made to share the fee with other broadcasters lets have some genuine competition in regional services

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  • grahame61  |  September 10 2012, 9:20PM

    The BBC is the better option out of the two channels on offer,it's not brilliant but at least covers the true South West and not Bristol,Gloucester,and Wiltshire that ITV class as in the southwest broadcasting area.To be honest I'm not really bothered what happens there as no doubt people up there don't really class is as "local".I agree though that ITV hasn't been the same since Gus was put out for stud.

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  • blogtodi  |  September 10 2012, 8:56PM

    So many channels, so much garbage to choose from and not enough advertising revenue to go round. It's garbage that's seems to be the entertainment of choice. Quality ITV television is struggling nationwide. The BBC is probably the best all round TV company in the world. Don't knock it...

    |   17
  • MrMeMeMe  |  September 10 2012, 7:34PM

    Is Simon Hall the ONLY journalist covering hard(ish) news on regional television in the South West ? Because it seems like it ...

    |   2