SCOTTISH broadcaster STV could face a summer of disruption as journalists working on STV News are voting on industrial action over pay.

Potential strike action could affect coverage of news events up to mid-September, including a possible Westminster spring election, as well as the lunchtime and evening news bulletins.

The National understands it will not affect the broadcaster's coverage of the Euros, including the opening Scotland match against Germany.

Staff at the broadcaster, which has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, are returning voting papers for industrial action after last minute talks brokered by negotiator ACAS fell apart after the company refused to make an improved offer on pay.

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A previous indicative ballot held by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) showed 84% of members were in favour of strike action on a turnout of 94%.

The current pay offer represents an increase as low as 2.5% for some staff and no higher than 6% for lower earners, after a year in which the inflation rate as measured by CPIH, the Consumer Prices Index, was as high as 9%.

STV holds the channel 3 licence to cover central and north Scotland and is the only part of channel 3 which is independent from ITV.

Between 2019 and 2022 STV made a total of £87.2 million operating profit on total revenues of £513.2m and it expects to announce a £20m profit for 2023.

STV’s flagship bulletin News at Six has had a greater audience than every major BBC Scotland news programme for the past four years, as well as outperforming the ITV Evening News, News at Ten and Channel 4 News.

In March 2023, STV announced it had its best television viewing performance in almost two decades.

Nick McGowan-Lowe, the NUJ’s national organiser for Scotland said: “STV News is Scotland’s most-watched news channel for the past four years in a row, and that is down to the talent, skill and hard work of our members in the newsrooms around Scotland.

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“Without that award winning coverage, which allows STV to fulfil its public service obligations, STV wouldn’t be able to have secured the renewal of their channel 3 licence.

“It’s frustrating that after a year of reporting the impact of the cost of living on communities across Scotland that management are insisting that their own staff ‘s pay should be eroded by inflation at a time of increased costs for housing, electricity and food.

“The STV board can avoid costly and damaging strike action, as well as angering their loyal audiences who depend upon the broadcaster’s news coverage, by coming back to the table with a meaningful offer that shows they value the work of our hard-working members.”

NUJ members at STV last voted for industrial action in December 2022 when a last-minute deal by STV management avoided strikes.

A spokesperson for STV said: “Like most businesses, STV is not immune from the adverse and unprecedented economic backdrop. We remain committed to rewarding our staff, and given these circumstances, the offer is fair and financially sustainable.

"STV’s pay award will increase salaries by at least inflation for over half of our news colleagues, and provides the opportunity for a bonus payment subject to 2024 financial performance. The proposed pay structure, which was agreed by joint unions, intentionally provides a higher pay award to colleagues on lower salary levels.

"STV has developed contingency plans which would minimise any impact on our audience should NUJ members vote for strike action.”