TV union Bectu has criticised reports that Channel 4 is to pay £15m to senior leaders and permanent staff as part of a retention scheme.

Bectu argues that the payouts ignore the contribution of freelancers to the broadcaster’s success.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “We’re disappointed at this news, which seemingly ignores the vital contribution that freelancers make to Channel 4’s success – particularly at a time when the broadcaster has acknowledged the UK commissioning slowdown, and amidst reports of cancelled series that have left freelancers without work at very short notice.

“As Bectu has made clear, thousands of freelancers are struggling to get by as they continue to face precarious employment, compounded by a lack of government support during the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

“We know from our recent research just how difficult things are for many TV freelancers, and many are already questioning their future in the industry. This announcement from the broadcaster comes at a challenging time for the freelance TV sector, and it’s disappointing there is no apparent acknowledgement of how vital freelancers’ skills and expertise are to Channel 4.

“Bectu is talking with broadcasters and other industry stakeholders, including Channel 4, to urgently seek solutions to the current freelancer employment crisis, and to help drive long-term security for the freelance workforce.”

Jon Creamer

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