In Brief

ITV strike: will viewers notice a difference?

Martin Lewis absent from Good Morning Britain as employees walk out over 'huge disparity' in pay

Employees at ITV are staging a 24-hour strike in protest at the "huge disparity" in pay offered to executives and staff.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and technicians' union Bectu voted for industrial action in response to a two per cent pay offer from the company.

The unions say the pay rise fails to bring the workforce in line with the cost of living increases over the past ten years and are asking members to protest outside the company's AGM in Westminster today.

ITV said it was "confident" that viewers would be unaffected. However, Good Morning Britain was the first live show to show signs of a change. Martin Lewis, of moneysavingexpert.com, who normally presents a weekly slot on the programme, tweeted yesterday: "Sadly I won't be doing deals of the week on Good Morn Brit tomorrow due to ITV strike. As NUJ member I prefer not to cross picket lines."

Presenter Susanna Reid did not appear either, although an ITV spokesman told The Guardian she had a "day's holiday which was planned as part of the post-election coverage".

The newspaper says there are also reports that the company rescheduled filming for Coronation Street and Emmerdale, and pre-recorded its lunchtime show Loose Women.

According to the Press Gazette, most of the journalists taking part in the action work on ITV's regional news programmes.

Insiders at ITV Granada told the Manchester Evening News that there was "chaos" behind the scenes, with "employees working overtime and celebrity guests having to be rebooked".

ITV said it made an above-inflation pay increase on top of the 11.5 per cent of pay rises over the last four years and claimed that it was the "only UK broadcaster to pay the living wage".

But Gerry Morrissey, Bectu general secretary, said staff were "very unhappy" with the offer. "There is a huge disparity between the pay offered to staff and the bonus package to executives as well as shareholder dividends," he said. "Our members are helping to make the profits but are not sharing in them."

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