Pact/Bectu impasse spells looming concerns for UK scripted contracts

UK-produced scripted drama Peaky Blinders

UK trade body Pact and trade union Bectu are struggling to reach a new deal for scripted TV productions.

Last week, Pact proposed new terms for the Bectu/Pact TV Drama Agreement, which covers working terms and conditions for crew in the UK’s independent scripted business and is set to expire in September.

However, Bectu boss Philippa Childs yesterday called on union members to refuse the deal, claiming that it does not do enough to protect the boundaries between working and personal hours and is lacking in the “detail and clarity necessary for our members to feel confident that their concerns have been addressed.”

If negotiations between the two parties fail, scripted producers in the UK will no longer have a uniform set of term of conditions to use from when setting crew contracts.

Childs explained: “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. The current offer does not do that. Many of the improvements only apply to shooting hours/days, devaluing work done outside filming hours, and there are loopholes that would allow productions to schedule around penalties.”

Pact, meanwhile, has shot back, with deputy CEO and director of Business Affairs, Max Rumney, releasing a statement calling Bectu’s proposals “unviable” and said that it was “playing a dangerous game.”

He said: “Pact has made a progressive offer which is a serious attempt to address workplace conditions and the work/life balance.

“It will be a retrograde step that risks immense damage to TV scripted production in the UK if it is thrown out in favour of Bectu’s proposal to its members which is completely unviable and stands no chance of being implemented on productions.”

He said: “Financial modelling now being done by producers makes clear many productions will not be shot in the UK under the increased costs from Bectu’s alternative proposals – damaging a production ecosystem that has made the UK one of the best places in the world to make television.

“In many cases, BECTU’s suggested proposals make productions more expensive without addressing work/life balance challenges in the way we believe our key offers do.”

Tags: BECTU, Pact

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