Claire grills STV Chief Exec on job losses

In light of STV’s announcement that they are closing STV2, reducing their news provision and axing 57 jobs, the station’s Chief Executive was hauled in front of the Culture Committee yesterday to be grilled by MSPs.

There I asked – in light of £18m in profits and his own salary and remuneration package in excess of £1.2m – why they are putting shareholders before staff and viewers.

Mr Pitts’ also refused to rule out compulsory redundancies, which is deeply concerning for all involved at the station. There are real fears within the sector and from myself that job losses and the reduction in news programming will damage the company’s ability to properly serve all of Scotland’s communities.

These cuts are being carried out by a chief executive who is paid a gold-plated salary package equivalent to UK national broadcast bosses whilst at the same time he is turning STV from a national news broadcaster into little more than a regional outfit.

Scotland needs a vibrant and strong independent broadcaster to hold governments at Westminster and Holyrood to account. STV’s ability to carry out that role is being put at serious risk with these cuts.

Claire welcomes A92 plans

Transport Scotland have announced that they will be introducing a pedestrian crossing on the A92 at Glenrothes. It will be near the site of where Logan Carrie was tragically knocked down and killed three years ago.

This is welcome news for Logan’s family, who have been campaigning for such action since the youngster’s death and for local campaigners who have been tirelessly campaigning for improvements to the A92 in Fife.

I, along with other MSPs, MPs and councillors, have been supporting their efforts and it is good to see this progress being announced.

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Growth Commission Topical Question

Yesterday in Parliament I quizzed the Cabinet Secretary for Finance on the SNP’s latest plans for an independent Scotland.

With plans to get Scotland’s deficit below 3% from the current 8.3% it is clear that under the SNP an independent Scotland would face at least a decade of austerity max. This is not a Growth Commission but rather a Cuts Commission.

Scotland cannot afford another decade of austerity. With over a quarter of a million children living in poverty and pensioner poverty having increase by 33% since 2010 we need action now.

That is why a Labour Government would invest to grow our economy, including £70 billion in Scotland over the next decade.

Only Labour is proposing the real and radical change that Scotland needs.

Nominate your Young Scot today

Outside the Scottish Parliament I recently joined previous nominees and winners of the Young Scot Awards and youth ambassadors who are celebrating the Year of Young People 2018 on the Young Scot Awards Citylink bus.

The bus will tour around Scotland with an aim to encourage others to make a nomination for an inspirational young person for this year’s awards.

Through my role as an MSP, I hear about so many inspirational young people who make a positive impact as individuals, work hard in school, and in our local communities.

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Claire calls for STV rethink over job losses

Yesterday STV announced a number of job losses at the organisation, along with the closure of STV2 and the end of the east coast edition of STV News. Instead viewers in Fife and Edinburgh will only receive a brief update of local content with the remainder of the programme being produced in Glasgow.

In a devastating blow to workers at STV, these changes will result in 34 jobs from its news department being made redundant, along with a further 25 jobs associated with STV2. This is despite STV making a pre-tax profit of £18m and the new CEO Simon Pitt being greeted with a ‘golden hello’ of over £800,000.

With the east coast edition of the STV News, issues that may previously have not made the national bulletin but were important to the Kingdom have been given the time and respect they deserve. These redundancies risk undermining that.

Our press do a great, if often undervalued, job and it will stick in the craw for many that the news was delivered as part of cost cutting measures from a CEO that was awarded a ‘golden hello’ of over £800,000.

At a time when BBC is launching a new channel and Glasgow is making a strong bid to be the new headquarters for Channel 4, we should be looking to build our media capacity in Scotland not diminish it.

STV must think again about axing the east coast news and ensure that the station can continue to deliver a news service that the whole of Scotland deserves.

https://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/fife-msp-calls-for-stv-to-re-think-job-cuts-and-station-closure-1-4740565

Claire quizzes Goverment on out-of-hours closures

Last week I raised the closure of the out of hours centres in Dunfermline, St Andrews and Glenrothes with the Health Secretary.

Tonight there will be a public meeting in St Andrews with another scheduled to take place in Dunfermline.

I have been warning the Scottish Government of a GP crisis for some time. If there are well known difficulties with practices struggling to recruit GPs for during the day, it is unsurprising that finding cover at night is even harder.

In response to my question the Scottish Government admitted that there were “significant issues” in Fife. Continue reading

Claire calls for support to save BiFab jobs

This week I questioned the Scottish Government on the shock announcement of redundancies at BiFab.

I have worked closely with workers at the yards in the recent fights for their future and will continue to do so during these troubled times.

With the Scottish Government knowing about these job losses two days before workers, there are serious questions to be asked about worker and trade union engagement.

I also asked the Scottish Government – who has a stake in the yards – what they will do to bridge the gap while the company bids for new long term contracts. Continue reading

Levenmouth Rail Link Conference

Last week I was delighted to take part in Levenmouth Rail Campaign’s conference at the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre, along with their ‘Walk the Line’ event to mark support for reinstating the line.

I have been working with the campaign for Levenmouth Rail since I was first elected and the argument for its reintroduction is just as strong now as it was in 2007.

We have seen locally that a coalition has grown in support of the rail line, and the newly launch Community Charter is an opportunity to demonstrate this, alongside a strong cross-party consensus that this project should be taken forward.

Following Friday’s conference, I spoke to STV News and you can watch my interview below.

CB LMRL STV - Small

Claire calls for urgent meeting on out-of-hours closures

Following the news that Fife Health and Social Care Partnership have closed three out-of-hours services in the Kingdom, I have written to both Michael Kellet, the Director of the Partnership, and Shona Robison, the Health Secretary, to call for immediate support to reopen the services and for action to address the GP and staffing shortages in Fife. 

It was announced earlier this month that Glenrothes Community Hospital, Queen Margaret Community Hospital in Dunfermline and St Andrews Community Hospital will be closed for three months between midnight and 8am.

This decision is causing great concern with patients worried about how they will travel to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy when they need to see a doctor, concerned about the cost of taxis and the distance to travel and what this suspension really means for the future of the services.

This situation is particularly worrying for frail or vulnerable people in our communities, and they do not feel reassured by the contingency plan.

That is why I am requesting an urgent meeting with Michael Kellet of the Health and Social Care Partnership.  Continue reading

BiFab buyout welcomed

Great news for workers at BiFab today as it has been announced that Canadian company DF Barnes has secured the future of the yards in Methil, Burntisland and Arnish.

This is testimony to the commitment, attitude and effort of the workforce and trade unions which has been nothing short of exemplary in a time of great uncertainty for the company.

As the full details of the deal emerge we need to ensure that as much of the existing workforce as possible are able to remain in their roles, whilst growing the company to ensure those that lost their jobs are offered opportunities to return.

This must be the next step in cementing the long term future of BiFab and the yards. We now have the opportunity to put BiFab at the heart of Scotland’s renewable sector whilst competing in a worldwide market. This will hopefully secure much needed jobs for the local economy.

Throughout my time as a local MSP I have been fully supportive of the yards and the workers. I hope to meet with representatives from DF Barnes at the earliest opportunity, hear about their plans for the future and offer any support I can in securing new contracts.