Pact invites UK commissioners to summit to resolve TV drama impasse

Normal People

UK trade body Pact has invited commissioners in the country to a summit to work out how to move forward following broadcasting union Bectu’s rejection of the new terms and conditions offered in the joint TV Drama agreement. 

Pact has invited the major broadcasters, as well as pay-TV giant Sky and streamers to meet next week to discuss what will happen when the current agreement between indie producers and Bectu members ends on 1 September.

Bectu members “overwhelmingly” rejected the latest terms offered by Pact in a ballot held over the weekend. Without a deal, scripted producers in the UK will no longer have a uniform set of term of conditions to work from when setting crew contracts.

Among Bectu’s sticking points has been that the proposed terms don’t do enough to protect the boundaries between working and personal hours.

Last month, a host of UK prodcos, including Marcella producer Buccaneer Media and Normal People firm Element Pictures, urged Bectu members to take the proposed deal or risk “the whole of scripted TV” being damaged.

In a statement, Max Rumney, Pact deputy CEO and director of business affairs, said: “The rejection by Bectu members of the new terms and conditions creates a problem that the independent producers cannot resolve on their own.

“Heads of production are clear that demands such as no weekend working without crew approval and no overtime without crew approval will damage the ability to schedule and, in some cases, make it impossible to produce within budgets agreed.

“Historically, the rates of pay in the sector reflected recognition of the need for some antisocial hours due to factors including the availability of locations and actors.

“If Bectu’s priority is now to address the work-life balance, the question is how that can be funded. It will require a broader look at the financing and scheduling of production, and not simply a revision of terms and conditions alone.”

Tags: BECTU, Pact

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