Staff anger at ITN review of salary protection plan

ITN: journalists’ ‘extreme anger’

 

ITN journalists have voiced “extreme anger” at attempts to revive plans to scrap a salary security scheme.

This provides financial protection for journalists and their families should they be injured in the course of their duties.

ITN initiated discussions about abandoning the scheme before the war in Iraq, but these were put on hold after a petition from journalists was presented to management.

Journalists are “extremely angry” at the suggestion that the scheme is being reviewed as part of the pay and conditions negotiations with the NUJ, particularly after colleagues were killed covering the war. “Surely no one needs to highlight how important this is after ITN recently lost four of its journalists [in Iraq],” one journalist said.

Another said: “We lost four people. Three of them were not in an armed Land Rover, did not have security. No one has been offered any bonus for the Iraq stuff, no recognition where it counts – ie, money. “No doubt management was upset. But then the company turns around a few short weeks later and acts like it never happened.”

It is understood that ITN is looking at a number of ways of cutting costs in the wake of spiralling insurance charges. Apart from possibly ditching the salary scheme, it is also looking at the pension scheme and the forthcoming redundancies as areas where it can save money.

NUJ broadcast organiser Paul McLaughlin said: “Our members have said that none of these is up for negotiation. We are entering into a time when we would expect to be negotiating a pay claim for next year. We are not in the business of trading off these significant benefits.”

An ITN spokeswoman said there were “no plans to scrap the scheme at the moment”.

By Wale Azeez

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