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Riaz614 posts since 6 Jan 2016
Was it true that CTV 'ran out' of material due to the length of the strike but later obtained a quantity of films and programmes from the US?
JKDerry2,042 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline

We've covered this a few times before. Tony Currie of this parish offered to work there that summer, and he says someone was despatched to a cliff top to note down the IRN news from Radio Victory in Portsmouth, so they probably came to an arrangement with LBC/IRN to do that, as 'casually' capturing the content.

I doubt IRN's unions would have allowed anything more formal (such as a telex feed of the copy), but maybe ?

Whatever, you can't just go nicking the news from someone else


Would the unions have had an issue as Channel were not in dispute? It's a different scenario to a management run strike busting service.

In fact, were ITN on strike?


I'm not sure whether or not the NUJ (and the Sparks) at ITN (and the ITV companies) were on strike too, (in solidarity) with the ACTT ?

I think the sparks were, according to a couple of ex Thames TV engineers who frequent DS.

It was a very volatile period for industrial relations (and not just in broadcasting)

When did the rules over strike action at television stations got tidied up?


The Thames Television strike in 1984 showed that a management run service was possible. Unions at Thames went on strike, and Thames had no access to the ITV network, but managed to put together and playout each day of the strike an emergency schedule.

TV-am would air from 6.25am-9.25am and then there would be no programming until around 1.30pm, when Thames came back on the air with films, imported programming, repeats and filled the following 11 hours with a schedule, which yes was not great, but it meant viewers in London had something.
Markymark7,244 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today

Would the unions have had an issue as Channel were not in dispute? It's a different scenario to a management run strike busting service.

In fact, were ITN on strike?


I'm not sure whether or not the NUJ (and the Sparks) at ITN (and the ITV companies) were on strike too, (in solidarity) with the ACTT ?

I think the sparks were, according to a couple of ex Thames TV engineers who frequent DS.

It was a very volatile period for industrial relations (and not just in broadcasting)

When did the rules over strike action at television stations got tidied up?


The Thames Television strike in 1984 showed that a management run service was possible. Unions at Thames went on strike, and Thames had no access to the ITV network, but managed to put together and playout each day of the strike an emergency schedule.

TV-am would air from 6.25am-9.25am and then there would be no programming until around 1.30pm, when Thames came back on the air with films, imported programming, repeats and filled the following 11 hours with a schedule, which yes was not great, but it meant viewers in London had something.


Rules ?

There were no rules about what service could be provided, it was governed by what der management were capable of providing
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JKDerry2,042 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline

I'm not sure whether or not the NUJ (and the Sparks) at ITN (and the ITV companies) were on strike too, (in solidarity) with the ACTT ?

I think the sparks were, according to a couple of ex Thames TV engineers who frequent DS.

It was a very volatile period for industrial relations (and not just in broadcasting)

When did the rules over strike action at television stations got tidied up?


The Thames Television strike in 1984 showed that a management run service was possible. Unions at Thames went on strike, and Thames had no access to the ITV network, but managed to put together and playout each day of the strike an emergency schedule.

TV-am would air from 6.25am-9.25am and then there would be no programming until around 1.30pm, when Thames came back on the air with films, imported programming, repeats and filled the following 11 hours with a schedule, which yes was not great, but it meant viewers in London had something.


Rules ?

There were no rules about what service could be provided, it was governed by what der management were capable of providing

So, why did management at Thames have a very different attitude in the space of five years? 1979, no emergency schedule at all, whether due to technical issues or management decision. 1984 had a full emergency schedule.


Sorry if I seem to be confused, I am, as I don't understand why there was never a stand by schedule in place during this 1979 strike. Thanks.
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Markymark7,244 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
When did the rules over strike action at television stations got tidied up?


The Thames Television strike in 1984 showed that a management run service was possible. Unions at Thames went on strike, and Thames had no access to the ITV network, but managed to put together and playout each day of the strike an emergency schedule.

TV-am would air from 6.25am-9.25am and then there would be no programming until around 1.30pm, when Thames came back on the air with films, imported programming, repeats and filled the following 11 hours with a schedule, which yes was not great, but it meant viewers in London had something.


Rules ?

There were no rules about what service could be provided, it was governed by what der management were capable of providing

So, why did management at Thames have a very different attitude in the space of five years? 1979, no emergency schedule at all, whether due to technical issues or management decision. 1984 had a full emergency schedule.


Sorry if I seem to be confused, I am, as I don't understand why there was never a stand by schedule in place during this 1979 strike. Thanks.


Please refer to the post I made at 12:04hrs today
Steve in Pudsey10,379 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)


1968 strike managed to put together a management run service, why could this not have happened 11 years later?


The late 70s were the height of specialised knowledge required to operate and maintain broadcast equipment.
They probably just scrapped through in 1968, which was still b/w 405, and slightly 'lower tech'. Into the 80s and with 1 inch VTRs etc, it became easier, illustrated by Thames and TV-am who both managed a rudimentary service


The 1968 strike service was possible because of the franchise changes, I think. It used former ATV and ABC facilities and staff in part.
Write that down in your copybook now.
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JKDerry2,042 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline


1968 strike managed to put together a management run service, why could this not have happened 11 years later?


The late 70s were the height of specialised knowledge required to operate and maintain broadcast equipment.
They probably just scrapped through in 1968, which was still b/w 405, and slightly 'lower tech'. Into the 80s and with 1 inch VTRs etc, it became easier, illustrated by Thames and TV-am who both managed a rudimentary service


The 1968 strike service was possible because of the franchise changes, I think. It used former ATV and ABC facilities and staff in part.

A strike lasting nearly three months must have been unprecedented in UK television back then. I am amazed that the ITV management allowed it to continue for as along as they did.


They were losing millions of pounds in revenue, but even that would not get the unions and ITV to come together and agree a deal?

Why didn't the management not discuss it with the unions after say a month off air. When the autumn schedules were about to kick in September 1979, surely then they would see a deal had to be arranged?
Brekkie32,388 posts since 4 Jan 2003
HTV Wales Wales Today
A strike lasting nearly three months must have been unprecedented in UK television back then. I am amazed that the ITV management allowed it to continue for as along as they did.

They were losing millions of pounds in revenue, but even that would not get the unions and ITV to come together and agree a deal?

Why didn't the management not discuss it with the unions after say a month off air. When the autumn schedules were about to kick in September 1979, surely then they would see a deal had to be arranged?

I think you need to brush up on your social history. Things were very different back then before Maggie came along, although lengthy industrial action still happens today, most notably with the trains and the three-month long Birmingham bin strike.

From ITV's point of view although they were suffering in the short term the difference in position means it would have cost them much more in the long run if they'd caved in, so it was worth them holding out hoping the unions would blink first.
I preferred the internet when it had a sense of humour.
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BillyH1,328 posts since 4 Jan 2003
London London
When was the last major television strike to genuinely have an effect on the schedule? I don't think there's any terrestrial channels that have gone off entirely since the 80s, but there was a noticeable one on the BBC as recently as 1994 when a few news programmes had to be replaced with random films and repeats.
Member since 26 May 2001
Steve Williams2,856 posts since 1 Aug 2008
The 1968 strike service was possible because of the franchise changes, I think. It used former ATV and ABC facilities and staff in part.


All strikes are different as well. In 1968 I don't think Equity were on strike and other unions were also still working, so they could create a service, albeit a primitive one. It depends who's out, who's sympathetic and who's willing to work in any dispute.

Also in 1984 BBC1 was off air all day because of a strike, although it was suggested that the Beeb could certainly have got something on air (given BBC2 was still broadcasting), but Bill Cotton wanted to play hardball. There was a lot of posturing on both sides and although you wouldn't go off air if you could help it, like any strike both sides wanted to win the PR battle, and ITV may have thought it was a more powerful statement to go off air and win some sympathy from audiences.

Why didn't the management not discuss it with the unions after say a month off air. When the autumn schedules were about to kick in September 1979, surely then they would see a deal had to be arranged?


They were talking throughout, as mentioned it just happened that this was a particularly prolonged dispute. As you can see in that Transdiffusion article, when the Beeb went on strike at Christmas 1978 it was thought it would drag on for weeks and there wouldn't be any conclusion from the ACAS talks until the end of January, and as it turned out it was pretty much settled within a day.

Even if they were back on for the autumn schedules, the fact the dispute happened in the summer was a factor because that was when they'd usually be producing programmes for the autumn.
Last edited by Steve Williams on 27 June 2019 8:05pm