ITV soaps hit as 600 staff walk out in pay protest

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The Independent Online

Production of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Heartbeat was halted yesterday after hundreds of ITV staff took to the picket lines in protest over pay.

Production of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Heartbeat was halted yesterday after hundreds of ITV staff took to the picket lines in protest over pay.

The broadcaster had to make contingency plans for its prime-time Saturday night line-up when members of the unions Bectu and Amicus went on strike for 36 hours from 7am. Unions estimated that more than 600 staff walked out from ITV production centres in London, Leeds and Manchester.

Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, which is usually broadcast live, was prerecorded on Thursday, while the live pop nostalgia show Hit Me Baby One More Time will be filmed tonight at a studio in BBC Television Centre.

If there is no resolution, the strike action will continue next week.Union members voted last month to take industrial action after rejecting a 3.3 per cent pay offer. ITV's pre-tax profits jumped 57 per cent to £340m last year.In a highly unusual move, ITV has chosen to pay staff for the 36 hours of the strike.

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