Unions fight ITN job cuts
LONDON - Fresh from its victory winning the ITV news contract, ITN is reported to be in talks with unions opposed to its plans to cut as many as 100 jobs.
The news comes on the heels of the announcement that the news provider won the contract to supply ITV with news for a further six years after its current contract runs out in 2003.
ITN had to slash the cost of providing the service by up to £10m a year after it faced a challenge from the Channel 3 News consortium backed by BSkyB. It had been expected to announce a raft of job cuts once it secured the contract because of the money it would lose.
Last week, ITN reported losses of £294,000 for 2000, believed to be largely due to its 24-hour TV news operation, ITN News Channel, and its investment in new digital services.
When Channel 3 News launched its bid for the ITV contract, it accused ITN of trying to bump up the price of the ITV contract to help subsidise the cost of breaking into new markets.
The cuts at ITN are largely due to the reduction in what it is being paid for supplying news to ITV. It is thought its new contract is worth £33m-£36m a year, compared with the £46m it had wanted to charge.
ITN has already closed its online news service, which has ceased providing daily news.
Broadcasting union Bectu and the National Union of Journalists both said they would fight the cuts. ITN has said it will seek as many voluntary redundancies as possible.
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