Union ‘optimistic’ as STV staff go on strike for second time in pay dispute

NUJ members at STV are seeking a 6% pay rise.

Journalists walked out on Wednesday
Journalists walked out on Wednesday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

More talks with management are expected after STV journalists walked out on strike for a second time in a dispute over pay, a union organiser has said.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) is seeking a 6% pay rise for members at broadcaster STV to “keep pace with inflation” during the cost-of-living crisis.

NUJ representatives and staff attended the STV annual general meeting (AGM) in Glasgow on Wednesday where they put questions about the dispute to the board.

Nick McGowan-Lowe, NUJ national organiser for Scotland, said they are optimistic the industrial action and attendance at the AGM has “had the desired effect” and said that more talks with management are now planned.

The action by NUJ members at STV across Scotland will disrupt news programming on Wednesday, with the flagship STV News At Six programme due to be replaced by Sean’s Scotland, and network show Peston aired in place of Scotland Tonight.

The action has disrupted news programming
The action has disrupted news programming (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr McGowan-Lowe said there was a “strong” presence on the picket line in Glasgow, where staff were joined by colleagues who had travelled from Dundee and Edinburgh.

He said: “We put questions to the board about the dispute highlighting that, and as a result both the chair and the chief executive have committed to get back into talks as soon as possible.

“At the moment the next step is more talks to moving towards a resolution so we remain optimistic that today’s strike action and attendance at the AGM has had the desired effect.

“I really think we showed our strength today and I’m hoping that management at STV have understood that they need to take control of this dispute and sit round the table to work out an agreement.”

The strike comes after union members walked out for 24 hours on March 28 and the latest pay offer put forward by the company was rejected by staff.

The union said more talks are expected
The union said more talks are expected (Andrew Milligan/PA)

NUJ members at STV around the country including Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow walked out for 24 hours on Wednesday.

On the picket line in Glasgow they held banners calling for “Fair pay for journalists” and “Fair pay now”.

An STV spokesperson said: “STV has always been open to dialogue and today both our chair and chief executive reiterated the company’s willingness to continue discussions and hope for a swift resolution.”

The company added: “We’re disappointed that following discussions and an enhanced offer being made, members of the NUJ have decided to proceed with strike action on May 1.

“We understand that almost half of NUJ members voted to accept the enhanced offer, which included a bonus payment for all STV staff.

“We remain open to further dialogue but the NUJ’s claim for an above inflation pay increase of 6% – nearly twice the current level of inflation – is unrealistic and unaffordable. We have made clear that we will not agree a separate deal for NUJ members in excess of the award for all colleagues; and we maintain that our pay offer is both fair and financially responsible in the current economic climate.

“Alternative programming will be in place of news output.”