Joan Riley remembers a union dispute about appearance fees

It was decided to have ‘Scene’ at 11 o’clock as well. So we all went back to Quay Street side, directly above where the original newsroom had been, a very large area. At the far end was the studio. I don’t know whether you remember it but the studio was partitioned off with a large glass partition. You could see what was going on and they could see us. Then there was this part for the directors and researchers and we were at the far end. The camera was on light railway lines so the camera could pan from where we were, right to the bottom so they could show us working.

The union, NATKE, said ‘You’ve got to pay these people appearances fees’. Granada said ‘No’; there were only four of us. The union said as soon as the red light goes on, you’ve got to walk out. So we trooped out, it was quite funny really because we’d just sit watching the television. As soon as they finished doing what they were doing we went back again. Granada decided they wanted a busy office.

Of course researchers and directors were never in the office and particularly when they were on air because a lot of them were in the control room. So Granada said ‘OK, we’ll pay them’. So NATKE then in their wisdom said ‘It’s not fair they should get the extra money, we want every NATKE cleric to get it.’ Obviously Granada said ‘No way’. So it was everybody out again, four of us!

They reached a compromise; that they wouldn’t pay us, they would pay our money to a charity, which we thought was the NATKE coffers. It must have worked out quite a bit, four times the fees.

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