Journalists working for STV News have threatened to walk out over pay this summer, potentially affecting coverage of Scotland’s opening match against Germany at the Euros and a possible general election.

Staff at the broadcaster, which has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, are being balloted on industrial action after talks brokered by ACAS fell apart.

STV say they have developed contingency plans which would minimise any impact for audiences. It's understood games from the summer football competition would be broadcast regardless of any strike action. 

A previous indicative ballot held by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) showed 84% of members were in favour of downing tools.

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Reporters have hit out at the current pay offer, saying it represents an increase as low as 2.5% for some workers.

The union pointed out that between 2019 and 2022 STV made a total of £87.2m operating profit on total revenues of £513.2m and is forecasting a £20m profit for 2023.

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.

“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.”

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As well as the Euros, the NUJ has warned that any strike would impact the lunchtime and evening news bulletins.

STV’s flagship bulletin has long outperformed every major BBC Scotland news programme, with the channel’s News at Six show having a higher average audience than any of their rival’s output north of the border.

In 2022, STV News at Six reached an average audience of about 382,000 compared with 340,000 for Reporting Scotland.

That’s despite a significant resource gap between the broadcasters, with the commercial channel having just a fraction of the staff and the corporation.

Mr McGowan-Lowe said STV could 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.”

An STV spokesperson 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.”