August 4th, 2021
The Hair, Make-up and Prosthetics branch of Bectu have issued the below open letter to all members of the community in relation working on TV drama productions. This impacts all members of the profession, not just Bectu members, so please do read, share and act.
From: Bectu Hair Make-up and Prosthetics Branch Committee
Date: 27th July 2021
IMPORTANT: TV Drama Negotiations
If you work in TV television this concerns the agreement put in place to ensure working terms and conditions are good. This includes guides on overtime and prep and wrap, to name a few. However the future of the agreement is in jeopardy and if we lose it, this will have serious implications on our working lives.
How has this happened?
Back in 2017 BECTU and PACT (Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television) negotiated an agreement to stabilize the terms and conditions of employing freelancers in the film and TV industry. One agreement was negotiated for TV and another for Motion Pictures (the MMP agreement). Initially the TV agreement worked well and it was due to be renegotiated in 2019 but this did not happen.
The 2017 agreement has been open to different interpretations over the intervening years. In 2019 PACT sought to ‘clarify’ certain issues in the 2017 agreement for their own members. This was not done in conjunction with BECTU and it has further diluted the agreement causing confusion and friction between crews and producers.
What will happen if the agreement disappears?
It is possible that the use of the agreement could cease if PACT refuse to renegotiate. The streaming producers could impose American style contracts and hours on the productions they make over here which require longer hours that we currently work. Every production could create their own contract making the workplace shambolic.
What needs to be done?
A voluntary group of working artists, in conjunction with BECTU officials and volunteers from all departments affected by this agreement, are striving to make sure we do not lose it.
Members of the Hair, Make-up and Prosthetic branch of BECTU are looking at how we can support the instigation of a renegotiation of the agreement. Support is our key word.
BECTU have requested a formal reply from PACT by the 1st September 2021 to acknowledge that they agree to renegotiate the agreement within a time frame. If this does not happen, BECTU have asked their members if they are willing to support action. Let us be clear, this does not automatically mean striking. Supporting action could simply be signing an open letter saying you support a renegotiation of the 2017 agreement.
This is the action we would ask our hair, make-up and prosthetic branch members to do. We would also seek the same support from those artists who are not BECTU members.
Ahead of 1st September, we propose this plan on behalf of our hair, make-up and prosthetic colleagues:
- Write to Spencer McDonald at BECTU reiterating our support for this renegotiation, but stating that we welcome the opportunity to meet with PACT. This is not to negotiate terms solely for the hair, make-up and prosthetics departments, but to clarify our job role to assist in any renegotiations. It also contains a list of activities the above departments consider to be within the realms prep and wrap time.
- Send a copy of this letter to PACT.
- Create an “emergency” agreement which can be used by all hair, make-up and prosthetic teams in TV should the 2017 agreement be dissolved. This will allow us to show a united front when being asked to work.
- Encourage our non-BECTU colleagues to join the union and make use of a new promotional joining fee of £7.50 per month.
The more we are informed about this issue, the stronger we can be. Please talk about this and reach out to your BECTU reps if you need help understanding these issues or want to support us in making this happen.
In order to keep you all informed we are looking to host a webinar with a BECTU official. Details will be circulated once a date is confirmed.
Bectu Hair, Makeup and Prosthetics Branch.
For all the letters sent between PACT and BECTU along with the PACT/BECTU 2017 TV drama Agreement click here.
Bectu is the union for creative ambition. They represent over 40,000 staff, contract and freelance workers in the media and entertainment industries. This includes workers in TV and film across the country; roles such as producers, directors, editors, camera operators, riggers and runners and in departments such as costume, hair and make-up, art departments, locations and props. They also represent workers in cinemas, art galleries, live events and theatres in a range of roles from front of house to lighting and sound technicians, production staff and hair, make-up and costume departments. Bectu is the largest union at the BBC; unless you work in front of the camera at the BBC or are a journalist then Bectu is the union for you. Join Bectu here.
Visit the hair, make-up and prosthetic branch’s website here.
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