Fears grow over the future of Channel 4 workers

Fears grow over the future of Channel 4 workers after production staff on Steph McGovern’s show are laid off while others have their pay delayed

  • Production workers on Steph McGovern’s Channel 4 show have been laid off
  • There are concerns that further cuts may be made to the channel’s workforce
  • Staff have already been told that their monthly payday will be delayed 

Staff   at Channel 4 have been left fearful for the future after lay-offs and wage delays at the cash-strapped television station.

The entire production team for the channel’s new flagship programme The Steph Show have been stood down amid fears for its long-term future.

And some of the network’s remaining workforce have been left worrying over mortgage payments after staff were told their monthly payday is being delayed.

Production staff on the Channel 4 programme The Steph Show have been laid off

The Steph Show was launched just three months ago from presenter Steph McGovern’s home, but then pulled from schedules because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Now, production staff – some of whom left big jobs at the BBC’s Breakfast Show to join McGovern – have been laid off. Channel 4 bosses say they hope the programme will return in September, but well-placed insiders suggest it could face a permanent axing.

A spokesperson for the programme, which has been off the air since the beginning of May, said: ‘We are working towards the production of The Steph Show as it was originally intended – with a live audience from a studio location in Leeds – in the autumn.

‘Production was disrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent filming restrictions. On production resuming, our ambition is that large numbers of crew will return.’

The Steph Show was launched just three months ago from presenter Steph McGovern’s home

But one source said: ‘The excuse being given is Covid, that they can’t film because there needs to be an audience. But ITV’s Loose Women usually has a live audience and they are still filming without one. It is all very strange. It is also quite curious that the whole team are not required, with many now actively looking for other work.’

Meanwhile, Channel 4 staff have been left furious after being told their payday has been changed so that they are paid four weeks in arrears. After receiving their salaries on August 15, they won’t be paid again until six weeks later on September 30.

The change is understood to have been made for cash-flow reasons, but some staff have been left fearing they will miss their mortgage payment dates. One said: ‘Some people live hand-to-mouth and don’t have savings to get them through at this difficult time.’

The Steph Show is just one casualty with 120 staff furloughed from the troubled station

However, a Channel 4 spokesman said they have provided interest-free loans if needed, adding: ‘We’ve given staff three months’ notice of the change and have put in place a range of measures to support them and mitigate any financial impact.’

Channel 4, which is owned by the Government but funded commercially through advertising, has been facing financial meltdown for months following a sharp decline in revenue.

Last month, it was revealed that the network has furloughed 120 staff after its advertising sales fell by 65 per cent in May, forcing it to discuss drawing down into a new £75 million loan in a desperate bid to stave off collapse.

That came after the channel’s programming budget was cut by £150 million, with less than £10 million to spend until the end of 2020. 

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