Bruce Anderson on his role as a member of the Granada Forum

So I was elected a councillor about 1971, and continued until 1976, and in 1976, I wasn’t re-elected, the ward… there was a change in general politics, and I was not re-elected, only by a handful of votes, which was very irritating! So I came back to work full-time, you might say, and almost immediately, just at that time, Granada had not long taken on Andrew Quinn as the new general manager – I think he came from the motor car industry originally. He worked in HR, having come from, I think, Luton, and maybe Vauxhall/General Motors. And he came to work at Granada and he made his way up to being the general manager, and I think… whether it was at senior management level, which I think it was, it was Denis Forman who was driving the idea of a works council, some sort of works council – it might have even had the grandiose title of the Granada Forum, do you remember that?

Anyway, the net result was, I was put forward by the union as the joint secretary with Andrew Quinn, and it was quite interesting. We used to have these meetings every so often – people around the table, management, nominees, trade union nominees, some of the people who weren’t even in either – and then afterwards, we would repair to the flat upstairs with Denis Forman and have a whisky and chat over the events. And over a period of two or three years, the union became less and less enchanted with it. I think part of the idea of why it was set up was that to a degree there was a maturing population, a maturing employee group, who were not getting anywhere. When you first went to Granada I think, in the 60s, as a young person, your prospects of perhaps being promoted to something grand was quite real and quite possible. Mike Scott came from the floor as a cameraman and as a floor manager, and there were quite a few people who did make their way up like that, but then it started grinding to a halt because these people were sitting in their jobs, and people were getting older and not getting anywhere, other than being reasonably well-paid. So it was a lot of aggro in a way. It wasn’t exactly fighting, but there was a general air of dissatisfaction, you might say. I certainly think that Denis Forman was well aware of that, because those were the wonderful, grand old days, you could go into the canteen, you would be having lunch and Denis would come and sit down next to you and talk to you. That used to happen! Scotty used to come in and sit down and talk. Management used to come into the canteen and sit and chat with people. So the Granada Forum rolled on for two or three years, and at the end of it I think there was sufficient dissatisfaction on the union’s part, that… the net result that really cheesed off the union was that there was going to be an enquiry into how people could get on and succeed, and they came to one conclusion – that if you hadn’t made it by 30, you were not going to make it. Now that really cheesed off the union, I think. I think they saw that as a label that was going to be pinned up over the door a bit like Balaclava. Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here. And if you came to Granada and you hadn’t made it by 30, that was it, and I think the union were not happy with that as a… I don’t know, I think it was the practical aspect of Andrew Quinn simply saying, “This is what’s happening. If you don’t make it while you’re quite young, it’s unlikely you are going to get much further,” you know? You will carry on in your job. And of course what ultimately happened then was that these people who were then approaching their 50s, that was when the redundancies started, when there was a gradual realisation that new technology in the form of satellite, multiple channels, was going to happen, and the workforce was going to have to be smaller, slimmer – and of course the management wanted the idea, I think, of being able to rely on freelance staff.

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