Bectu has launched a new campaign to demand better working conditions in TV drama. We need a more sustainable industry for crew, many of whom are suffering from burn out and low morale and are unable to sustain a family life and their own wellbeing.
UK TV Drama industry at breaking point
The Film and TV Charity’s recent ‘Looking Glass 21’ report paints a concerning picture of working conditions in the film and TV industry. 65% of respondents are considering leaving the industry, with just 10% agreeing that the industry provides a mentally healthy workspace.
At a time when the industry is thriving, with studio space being developed to keep up with high demand, the Work to Live Campaign asks the UK industry to prioritise and invest in the greatest contributors to its success – its world class crew.
Calling time on long-hours culture
Bectu has been in negotiations with Pact over the terms of the Pact/Bectu TV Drama Agreement, which sets out best working practices for Pact’s drama company member base in areas such as hours, rest breaks, travel time and dealing with complaints.
Whilst some progress has been made the latest offer from Pact does not adequately address the industry’s wellbeing and health and safety crisis caused by the growing volume of work and excessive long hours culture.
In March of this year, Bectu served Pact with six months’ notice to withdraw from the agreement. Our Work to Live Campaign will bring together crew working in TV Drama to demand a better work-life balance and seek a set of agreed terms that will create lasting and meaningful change for crew.
Bectu National Secretary, Spencer MacDonald, said:
“The UK TV Drama industry has reached a critical point. Crew are feeling burnt out, disrespected and unable to sustain a family life and their own wellbeing.
“The 24/7 film and TV culture is unrealistic and damaging to worker mental health, and we urgently need to reset the industry’s culture and ways of working. The industry is booming and through these negotiations we have an opportunity to establish a more sustainable industry that respects the home lives and safety of our members.
“Our members deserve better and we are pushing for a set of agreed terms that are respected by both crew and producers.”
Hair and Makeup Designer and Bectu member, Claire Williams, said:
“For too long many female colleagues and primary care givers have been struggling to manage the demands of juggling work and family life. Working a standard 14-16 hour day and often weekends and bank holidays makes this impossible, and we have often felt that we are failing as parents and as professionals.
“This campaign seeks to address the work/life balance so that we can thrive in both areas, instead of feeling that we have to choose between them.”
To learn more about BECTU’s Work to Live Campaign,