WGGB and Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, Helen Goodman MP, have written to ITV Chief Executive Adam Crozier urging the broadcaster to bring an end to a four-year contract dispute in the United States.
WGGB’s sister union, the Writers Guild of America (WGAE), has been trying to negotiate an agreement with ITV Studios America since 2010.
The dispute took a new turn last week (3 November 2014) when WGAE warned that the planned American remake of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, starring upcoming Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris, would be affected if an agreement was not made.
Members of WGAE can only work on shows covered by Guild agreements, and WGAE warned that it would take industrial action. Lowell Peterson, WGAE Executive Director, took to Twitter, declaring, “Time for ITV to sign”.
Bernie Corbett, General Secretary of WGGB, has responded by writing to ITV Chief Executive Adam Crozier stressing that WGGB is “growing increasingly concerned” about the dispute.
“We cannot understand why ITV in New York has adopted such a hawkish, anti-union position,” he said.
“It is completely at odds with the way the industry works in the United States, it is damaging to the reputation of ITV, not only in the US but increasingly in the UK as well, and it looks as though it may damage the ambitions of ITV to become a major player in the US.”
He added that there were fears the “reverberations” could affect Writers’ Guild members in the UK.
Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, Helen Goodman MP, has also written to Adam Crozier.
“I am sure you agree that workers should be afforded at least basic rights and protections, therefore I hope you will encourage your colleagues in America to work with the WGAE,” she wrote.
“I am concerned that for a long time ITV failed to engage with the guild and that more recent talks to form a contract have been unsuccessful. It is therefore in everyone’s interests that negotiations are resumed and a satisfactory resolution reached as soon as possible.”