UPDATE 05:22 PT: UK trade body Pact has warned that the Bectu/Pact TV series deal will collapse by September if broadcasting union Bectu does not agree to its terms, with the union hitting back by saying Pact is “useless and did nothing to advance a resolution”.
The trade body was responding to Bectu’s decision to urge its members to reject Pact’s bid in tomorrow’s ballot.
According to Pact, “the financial modeling currently being carried out by producers clearly indicates that many productions will not be filming in the UK due to the increased costs of alternative BECTU proposals”.
The trade body’s deputy chief executive, Max Rumney, said Bectu’s alternative working hours and welfare proposal would be “a retrograde step that risks immense damage to television script production in the Kingdom -United”.
“If Pact’s offer is rejected, there will be no collective agreement after 1st September, and no transparency or certainty about working conditions,” Rumney said.
“Everyone – broadcasters, streamers, teams as well as independent producers who negotiated in good faith – will lose if this happens. BECTU is playing a dangerous game.
In response, Bectu manager Philippa Childs described the comments as “unnecessary and doing nothing to advance the resolution” of this dispute.
“Pact has had six months to go around the table and provide a revised offer that is clear in its interpretation and negotiate on points of disagreement with a view to reaching an agreement. Instead, they opted to release a revised offer to the press just hours after it was sent to the union, undermining Bectu representatives who have a key role to play here,” she added.
Previous: Relations between UK broadcasting union Bectu and producer trade body Pact are sinking to new depths as the union urges its members to reject Pact’s latest offer of TV drama terms.
The pact set out the new terms in a bid to resolve the impasse over the couple’s TV drama deal last week, but Bectu chief Philippa Childs called on thousands of members to turn down the offer due of its “not adequately stipulating the boundaries between work time and personal time, and lacking the necessary detail and clarity for our members to feel confident that their concerns have been addressed.
“We have been clear from the start that the updated agreement must urgently address the long working hours and welfare crisis facing our members,” Childs said. “The current offering doesn’t do that; many improvements only apply to shooting hours/days, devaluing work done outside of shooting hours, and there are loopholes that would allow productions to plan around penalties.
Members will be elected on Wednesday and the ballot will close on Sunday, July 31, with Pact agreeing to keep discussions open after the ballot.
Childs added that the union will continue discussions with Pact to “deliver an agreement that meets our goal of improving crew welfare and reducing excessive and unsociable hours, while supporting industry growth. “.
Pact’s offer was met with “surprise” by Childs last week as it was sent to the press just hours after being handed over to the union. This offer spelled out measures including a scripted TV crew getting shorter workdays, extra pay for “prep and pack”, payments for non-social hours, an increased cap on overtime, and holidays paid at double time.
The Bectu/Pact TV Drama deal is due to expire in a few weeks and, if negotiations fail, UK drama producers will no longer have a set of terms and conditions to work from when agreeing contracts. The dispute has shades of the IATSE/AMPTP dispute late last year in the United States, which was eventually resolved.