Press Release

CAL Calls On UTV To Halt Redundancies And Consult

Session: 2008/2009

Date: Thursday, 27 November 2008

Reference: CAL 07/08

UTV’s proposals to press ahead with redundancies were under scrutiny today at the meeting of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure. UTV is planning this move in advance of the outcome of an ongoing Ofcom consultation on the future of public service broadcasting

Committee Chairperson Barry McElduff MLA, said, “All Members of the Committee spoke to the motion on Monday in the House which was passed unanimously. After the debate, the Speaker wrote to the Managing Director of UTV and to Ofcom detailing the agreed motion and enclosing the transcript.

“The Committee now calls on UTV and Ofcom to acknowledge the Assembly’s position on the UTV redundancies and the Ofcom consultation, and to respond to the Speaker’s letter immediately.”

The Committee heard evidence from a range of stakeholders, including UTV and the unions at its meeting last week. A debate then took place on the floor of the House on Monday, and all the Committee members strongly supported a motion requesting that UTV halt its redundancy programme until the outcome of the Ofcom consultation is known. The motion also called on Ofcom to extend the consultation period by a further three month. The motion was passed unanimously, and the Speaker has now written to UTV and Ofcom accordingly.


Notes to Editors:

The Committee for Culture Arts and Leisure is one of the statutory committees established by the Northern Ireland Assembly on 9 May 2007.

The role of the Committee as set out in Standing Orders for the Northern Ireland Assembly is “to advise and assist the Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his responsibility as Minister in charge of the Culture Arts and Leisure.

Committee Membership:
Mr Barry - McElduff MLA - Chairperson -
Mr David McNarry MLA - Deputy Chairperson 
Mr Dominic Bradley MLA 
Mr Francie Brolly MLA 
The Lord Browne MLA 
Mr Kieran McCarthy MLA 
Mr Raymond McCartney MLA 
Mr Nelson McCausland MLA 
Mr Pat Ramsey MLA 
Mr Ken Robinson MLA 
Mr Jim Shannon MLA

Background

All 11 Members of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee participated in a debate in the House on Monday 24 November 2008 regarding the Ofcom Review and the proposed redundancies at UTV.

The motion of that debate was:

That this Assembly expresses concern at Ofcom’s proposals for a diminution in the public service obligations of UTV through a reduction in the minimum requirements for regional news and non-news programmes; calls on Ofcom to protect diverse, quality broadcasting through the promotion of local news and programming; calls for the extension of Ofcom’s Public Service Broadcasting Review consultation period for a further three months; and further calls on UTV to suspend its restructuring and redundancy programme pending the outcome of this consultation process, and following meaningful consultation and negotiations with the trade unions representing staff at UTV.

The motion was put and agreed to.

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