ITV staff vote for strike

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ONE-THIRD of the ITV network faces disruption after a vote in favour of strike action by broadcasting unions yesterday.

Granada, LWT and Yorkshire Tyne-Tees programmes could be pulled off air from 22 February unless the Granada Media Group, which owns all three broadcasters, enters talks about pay, a union spokesman said yesterday.

The first programmes to be hit will be live regional news and magazine programmes in each of the local franchise areas. ITV network programmes such as Coronation Street, Blind Date and Heartbeat will be affected only if the dispute is prolonged.

Members of Bectu, the National Union of Journalists and the AEEU voted 75 per cent in favour of strike action if Granada does not increase its 3.6 per cent pay offer. The unions claim that directors of the company have awarded themselves pay increases worth an extra 14 per cent, while the company has increased profits by 21 per cent to pounds 255m. The unions have asked the arbitration service Acas to intervene and the service has requested that Granada enter talks. The broadcaster has yet to respond.

A Granada statement yesterday said that only 10 per cent of its workforce had voted for strike action.