Andrew Quinn’s impressions of the personnel department

Anyway, so I joined the personnel department. One of the biggest changes was that Derek Roberts said to me, “We have to trade union in here, and you’ll be looking after NATKE. National Association of Theatrical, Television and Kine Employees. And I’ll be doing the ACTT and the ETU he said, because they’re a slippery bunch. And so I mean, the only acquaintanceship I’d had with labour relations, was simply to apply the nationally negotiated rates that are applied throughout General Motors. And suddenly found myself in the office with shop stewards who had wandered in and told me that there was a demarcation problem, or didn’t have a big enough crew. So, somewhat in your face compared to what I had been used to. However, I was enjoying it.

And then about two years later, Denis Forman, who at the time I think was director of programmes… he gave me a call and said, “Come have a word.” So I did, and he explained to me how Granada had diversified into rentals, TV rentals. And it was growing very fast. It was based in Manchester at that time, but growing by acquisition, and there was no personnel function. So would I like to go to Granada TV Rental as personnel manager? And I thought oh, good idea. So arrangements were being made.

Then I got another call from Denis Forman, who said, “Derek Roberts may have told you, but he’s leaving.” He said, “He’s been offered the job of bursar at his old college in Oxford, and he’s off. So, do you want to be personnel manager?” So I said okay. I thought it’s not a bad choice. So one of the roles as personnel manager was that I would attend the Labour Relations Committee for the ITV Association in London, because the industry negotiated collectively for national wage rights and so on. And it was a strange committee, because there are 50 ITV companies. There are only five of any size, and there were some of no size at all, like Channel Television and Border Television. However, this committee met monthly. This was somewhat beyond my experience thus far. I said to Denis before the first one… I forget what the issue was going to be, but said, “What’s my brief?” And he paused and he said, “Do the best you can, but don’t commit us.” And in a way, this was beginning to be to my mind, what Granada Television… how different it was going to be from General Motors.

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