Members of broadcasting union Bectu have rejected a new Drama Agreement on working conditions for scripted productions put forward by producers’ trade body, Pact.

The current collective agreement between producers and union members ends in September and Bectu’s ballot of members on the proposed agreement from Pact ended yesterday with members voting against accepting the terms.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “Our members have voted to overwhelmingly endorse Bectu’s position in response to the latest offer from PACT and given us a clear mandate to seek further discussions.

“The UK TV drama industry has reached a critical point, with many crew suffering from burn out and low morale and unable to sustain a family life and their own wellbeing. At a time when the industry is thriving, we know many talented workers are leaving due to the unsustainable long hours culture. It’s time to meet these issues head on with an agreement that addresses our members’ concerns and is fit for the future to ensure the industry, and its staff, thrive for years to come.

“Bectu remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement that meets our objective of improving crew wellbeing and reducing excessive and unsociable hours, and supporting industry growth. We look forward to meeting with Pact to discuss a way forward as a matter of urgency.”

Reacting to the result of the ballot, Max Rumney, Pact Deputy CEO, Director of Business Affairs, said: “Pact members are understandably disappointed at the rejection of our offer. It was very strong and made real strides in addressing concerns over working practices and the work-life balance. If any of the details were not clear, we remain available to provide further clarification.”

Last week, a group of major drama production companies sent a letter to crew members directly urging them to accept Pact’s drama crews agreement or “the whole of scripted TV risks being damaged if our offer is rejected.”

Jon Creamer

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