Negotiations between U.K. crew union Bectu and producers’ body Pact over high end TV terms have deteriorated further.
The current agreement runs out on Sept. 1 and the two organizations are currently negotiating to come to terms on a new one.
Earlier this month Bectu voted to reject Pact’s latest proposal, which had been under negotiation for 10 months, citing a lack of clarity over some of the terms. According to Pact, this week Bectu leaders also rejected plans for a four-week extension of the current agreement, allowing more time to negotiate.
With a new deal now looking unlikely in the next two weeks, Pact has issued a “Red Book,” in which it sets out recommended terms and conditions for engaging crew when the existing agreement ends. Pact says the recommendations include concessions regarding work-life balance, such as shorter working days and enhanced payments for anti-social working hours such as night shoots and public holidays.
“We are very disappointed that these serious efforts to get all sides around the table have been rejected by some of the Bectu branches despite the efforts of the union leaders,” said John McVay, CEO of Pact. “We are always willing to get back around the table if circumstances change. But we are acting today to create clarity for producers and crew from next month. The Red Book honours the improvements to terms and conditions, including improvements to the work-life balance, which were offered to crew this summer. The terms are designed to benefit crew at all levels, from the most experienced to those working in the industry for the first time, and to work for productions of all budgets.”
In a statement notifying media of the Red Book, Pact also said that the new payments and terms proposed by Bectu’s members are “unworkable and unaffordable and would jeopardise production in the U.K.”
Philippa Childs, head of Bectu, responded in a statement, saying: “Our members’ priorities always come first and we remain committed to delivering an improved agreement that adequately addresses their concerns. The decision to reject the extension was supported by all the Bectu branches involved.”
“Bectu gave 6 months’ notice of our intention to terminate the agreement so it’s disappointing that we weren’t able to resolve these outstanding issues within that time frame. Pact has had months to provide a revised, detailed offer and to negotiate on points of disagreement.
“We have been clear from the beginning that the updated agreement needs to urgently address the long hours and wellbeing crisis our members are facing. There has been some progress but not enough to reach agreement or resolve our concerns about night and weekend working or bank holidays. This agreement is critical to driving much-needed improvements to the working lives and wellbeing of scripted TV crew and it’s essential that we get it right.”