June Buchan on trade unions at Granada TV

What about the unions, trade unions and various problems?

Yes I do remember quite a bit about that. I was a member I can’t remember whether we had to be members or not? Did we – right? I remember a lot of union meetings in a big room up on the 2nd floor I think. I can’t remember which year the big strike was.

I think it was 80 – it was either very late 79 or 80, somewhere around there.

And how long did that one go on for?

Nine weeks I think.

Was it? Well I wasn’t on the staff by then but I do remember smaller strikes and there was all kinds of stuff when you were filming about, you know, double bubble, I think that was if you worked more than ten hours you got double pay.

Ten-hour break

The ten-hour break, that was it, and you had to have so many meals in a day, you had to have so many food breaks in a day. And I do remember things which seem ridiculous now but I suppose it was the time where if I went and moved a chair on the studio floor the props man would come up and shout at me. It took a bit of getting used because I think the thing was as a PA you were trained to be sort of generally helpful and I was quite often not helpful because I’d trodden on someone’s toes. But I was very much in favour of the union at the time but I suppose that was all part of the left-wing politics of the company and the feeling of ‘we’re the workers’. But I’m sure looking back they were probably quite out of place quite often. But it seemed exciting, you know, I’d not been involved in strikes before, I’d not been in a union before so anything that was like’ Come to a meeting, we’re going to discuss this’ I was ‘Yeah alright then’.

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