The row between TV trade union Bectu and producers’ trade body Pact is heating up as the two sides tussle over a new working conditions agreement for scripted TV crew.

Last week, Pact proposed a new deal with scripted crews on overtime and conditions, but Bectu has urged its members to reject the offer ahead of a ballot.

Bectu’s head, Philippa Childs, said to union members that the deal lacks clarity on working hours and that “many of the improvements only apply to shooting hours/days, devaluing work done outside filming hours, and there are loopholes that would allow productions to schedule around penalties.”

Pact’s Deputy CEO and Director of Business Affairs, Max Rumney said that Bectu’s counter proposal is “completely unviable and stands no chance of being implemented on productions.”

He said that “financial modelling now being done by producers makes clear many productions will not be shot in the UK under the increased costs from BECTU’s alternative proposals – damaging a production ecosystem that has made the UK one of the best places in the world to make television. In many cases, BECTU’s suggested proposals make productions more expensive without addressing work/life balance challenges in the way we believe our key offers do.”

The current collective agreement between producers and union members ends in September and Rumney says that “BECTU is playing a dangerous game. We have worked very hard to meet the concerns of BECTU point by point. If there is any lack of clarity on any part of our offer, they only need to ask. We are urging their members to accept the new offer and work with us to continue progress on workplace conditions.”

Bectu’s ballot opens on Wednesday with members able to vote until July 31st.

Jon Creamer

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