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Channel Television during the 1979 ITV Strike

How did it continue broadcasting? (June 2019)

CO
commseng London London
Thanks for that link to the twitter feed. It is an interesting look back at events 40 years ago.
It appears that it was the sacking of 3 film editors at Thames that caused the initial dispute, that then escalated into a pay dispute.
If that timeline shows the full picture, it seems to be Thames then Granada, followed by ATV, Ulster, Tyne Tees, and all regions except Westward and Channel by the 24th July.
A 25% pay claim looks so odd in these days of low inflation, but didn't feel unusual at the time.
The electricians held all the power in so many ways!
NL
Ne1L C Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Its hard to believe now but union power pretty much dominated the country. There was a documentary on YouTube about how Dr Who was badly affected by strike action but it's been removed.
JK
JKDerry UTV Newsline
Self bump: Thanks to nwtw2003:

@ITVonStrike on twitter has a whole range of clippings from the strike.

Can you give us the link



Sure:
https://twitter.com/ITVonstrike

Thanks
NL
Ne1L C Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
TV Ark and The Channel Archive know about this thread!
JK
JKDerry UTV Newsline
What surprises me about the 1979 strike is how long the management were prepared to sit it out. Nearly 11 weeks off air, that is remarkable.

Surely the management knew they would lose millions in advertising as each week passes, as Greg Dyke said they lost over £100 million by the end of the strike in October.

Management at ITV were pathetic. As soon as the all out strike had commenced, if I was management, I would have brought the unions into discussion and settled it within a week or so.

The 1968 strike managed an emergency schedule, and was settled within a month. 11 weeks just shows how much the unions and management were entrenched in their positions, and refused to budge even an inch.

They should have taken an example from the December 1978 strike at the BBC, and talked with the unions, and agreed a settlement.

11 weeks without ITV - ITV was a hugely popular channel. It really was the only channel in the UK in 1979 which offered a proper daytime television schedule each day, seven days a week.

This proved very popular, especially during the summer months, when BBC One stopped their schools programmes, Pebble Mill went on their holidays, and the schedule was filled with just sport such as cricket, golf, racing and tennis.

A look at how much the ITV daytime schedules were missed during the strike can be seen when you look at what BBC One offered at the same time - below is an example from Thursday 6th September 1979:

BBC One - 6.40am-7.55am Open University. Then nothing until Midday News at 1.15pm. 1.30pm Playboard, then from 1.45pm until the start of children's programmes at 4.20pm nothing, not one programme.

BBC Two - 6.40am-7.55am Open University, then nothing until Playschool at 11.00am, then from 11.20am until the next block of Open University at 4.50pm there was nothing.

So, daytime ITV was needed, and many parents interviewed said they hated ITV off on strike, as they usually filled the summer schedules with family entertainment, and of course adults off on holidays too enjoyed them.
NL
Ne1L C Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
This article from the Guardian might shed some light on the background behind the strike:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/1999/sep/05/columnists.observerbusiness2
CA
Cando London London

Management at ITV were pathetic. As soon as the all out strike had commenced, if I was management, I would have brought the unions into discussion and settled it within a week

Boris should get you to negotiate Brexit, given that the world is so simple and no nuance is needed.
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I wonder if there was any spike in the sales/rental of UHF sets during the strike? Did households who only had VHF sets upgrade so they could get BBC2 so they at least had some choice of viewing?
Write that down in your copybook now.
MA
Markymark Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I wonder if there was any spike in the sales/rental of UHF sets during the strike? Did households who only had VHF sets upgrade so they could get BBC2 so they at least had some choice of viewing?


I think by 1979 most people were on UHF/625 anyway? Anyone who wasn't probably wasn't in a UHF served area and by then new UHF transmitters came on line with BBC1/2/ITV all together. The last UHF main station (serving a tiny rural audience) Brougher Mountain had opened in 1978
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
Had video recorders made it on to the market by then? An expensive way at the time to offer more choice, and I guess no way to advertise them to TV viewers, but if they were out you'd imagine they'd have benefitted. Suspect radio and the cinema did as well.
Stay Local. Stay Safe. Stay Alive.
NL
Ne1L C Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
VCR's were around in the 1970's but were hideously expensive.
TJ
TedJrr Anglia (East) Look East
Cando posted:

Management at ITV were pathetic. As soon as the all out strike had commenced, if I was management, I would have brought the unions into discussion and settled it within a week


Boris should get you to negotiate Brexit, given that the world is so simple and no nuance is needed.


Well, it was that simple. Really a lot more simple than Brexit.

Don't forget that ITV program contractors had a monopoly to sell TV advertising in their own areas. There was no competition, so really nothing to lose except the marginal revenues during the strike. This was mitigated in part by not having to pay salaries to the striking workforce for the duration.

But, when the strike was over, all the customers would come back - they had to! There were no competitors to abstract the business.

The monopoly nature and industrial relations ethos of the day made the strike inevitable.
Steve in Pudsey and Brekkie gave kudos

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