A host of UK prodcos, including Banijay, Keshet UK, Red Production Company and Bad Wolf, have written to crew members working on their scripted titles, urging them to sign up to the new Bectu/Pact TV Drama Agreement or risk “the whole of scripted TV” being damaged.
The firms took the “unusual step” of writing to everyone working on their productions, recommending that they accept the new working terms and conditions being offered by UK trade body Pact in the ballot currently being held by industry union Bectu.
The joint letter, organised by Pact, warns that: “Financial modelling suggests that many productions will not be financially viable under the terms Bectu have posted via their branches.
“Some of the people likely to be worst affected will be those who work on lower and mid-range budget productions and those in the nations and regions. This matters not only to those individuals, but to the continued success of our sector.”
Among Bectu’s sticking points has been that the proposed terms don’t do enough to protect the boundaries between working and personal hours.
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. The Bectu ballot closes on 31 July, while the current deal is set to expire in September.
Pact’s offer includes restricting a standard filming day to a maximum of 10 hours on camera, penalising producers for shoots that go beyond five days in a working week, and an increase in the overtime cap.
The trade body also proposes the creation of a new pay band for scripted productions that go over £7m ($8.4m) per hour, with separate “further enhanced” terms and conditions.
More than 70 production companies have circulated the letter to their crew members, also including Marcella producer Buccaneer Media, Normal People firm Element Pictures and Killing Eve prodco Sid Gentle Films.