Gordon Burns reflects on the growing power of the unions within Granada in the 1970’s

That was the time when the unions were growing in power, and I think that did lead to a change in situation when the unions were challenging the whole time, and strike action was not necessarily infrequent, but there was one major strike action, and in fact the unions, in my view, got far too powerful because they could take ITV off the air at a stroke. And because they were all separate companies, Granada and Thames Television and Tyne Tees and so on, if Granada had a dispute and the electricians pulled the plug and took me off the air, it was immediately – this was a time when ITV were making money, a licence to print money – and so all the other companies would put huge pressure on Granada to sort it out now because all of the other electrician’s unions supporting Granada could take the network off – so there was always that pressure, and I think life changed a bit under that because it then became management v the unions, and everybody had to be in a union, so it probably changed a bit in that way.


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