UK producer trade body Pact has taken the “unusual step” of writing to hundreds of crew working on scripted productions urging them to sign up to the new Bectu/Pact TV Drama Agreement or risk “the whole of scripted TV being damaged.”
In the letter circulated in the past few minutes, seen by Deadline, Pact said broadcasting union Bectu’s alternative terms being put forward “unilaterally,” which it has roundly rejected, “are seeking to put all genres and budgets of television programmes on terms and conditions not even used in the highest big-budget films made by US studios.”
Bectu is balloting members on the terms that govern the likes of working conditions and wellbeing between now and Sunday July 31 and is advising its plus-thousand strong member base to vote against.
Pact urged crew to reject Bectu’s advice and sign up to its terms for “real benefit to everyone.”
Pact used the letter to detail its terms, which include reducing the standard filming day by one hour to 10 hours, penalizing producers for any shoot that goes beyond five days in a working week, introducing double pay for bank holidays and a higher overtime cap.
Pact also accepted Bectu’s call for an additional pay band with separate terms and conditions for scripted projects that top £7M ($8.4M) per hour, concluding: “The whole of scripted TV risks being damaged if our offer is rejected.”
“Financial modelling suggests that many productions will not be financially viable under the terms Bectu have put forward,” added the letter. “Some of the people likely to be worst affected will be those who work on lower-budget productions and in the nations and regions. This matters not only to those individuals but too the continued success of our sector.”
Pact and Bectu have been engaged in a war of words over the past fortnight after Bectu exclaimed “surprise” with Pact’s decision to make the proposals public mere hours after sending them to the union for inspection last week.
Since then, Bectu has told members to reject the offer and Pact has said the whole agreement will likely collapse when it runs out on September 1 if the rejection is rubberstamped.
Deadline revealed the rift back in February, when negotiations first broke down over various sticking points.
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