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PACT's '6 of the 9' TV Drama Proposal and why it wasn't agreed - THE TRUTH

You may have read in recent news reports about Bectu serving six months’ notice to withdraw from the TV Drama Agreement. In the reports Pact are quoted as saying they proposed compromises on six of nine Bectu priorities.


This latest proposal from Pact is the result of months of difficult negotiations and two full days of in-person meetings, several months apart. It is not Pact’s first offer and negotiating reps have been pushing hard for a better deal.


Below outlines Bectu’s negotiating priorities from the original letter sent to Pact in May 2021 and the related response from Pact. These were:

  1. Withdrawal of PACT guidance

  2. Better terms for above £5m budget bands

  3. Prep & Wrap

  4. Dailies get a rest day for night work

  5. Weekend work should be paid at a premium

  6. Work between 2100 and 2300 will be paid at X work between 2300 and 2400 at X.

  7. Bank holidays – T2 if worked T1 if not

  8. Definition of Semi-Continuous Working Day (SCWD)

  9. During negotiations Bectu also raised overtime caps

1. Withdrawal of PACT guidance

The Pact guidance varies the terms and has undermined confidence in the agreement.

On the first day of talks in September 2021 Bectu requested Pact guidance be withdrawn before negotiations went ahead.


Pact refused to withdraw the guidance and so in order to avoid derailing talks Bectu agreed, as a compromise, to the statement below.


Pact and Bectu are currently in negotiations to review and clarify aspects of the independent TV Drama Agreement.


"During the initial constructive meeting, which took place on 30th September 2021 both parties agreed the objective of talks was to deliver an unambiguous agreement without the need for additional guidance. Together we acknowledged that published guidance issued by Pact and Bectu has been a source of friction between producers and crew. Our aim is to continue the negotiations and update any sections of the agreement that have caused disagreement as soon as possible.


For clarity, any guidance produced by Pact or Bectu is independent of the agreement. It does not form any part of the collective agreement.


Upon successful conclusion of the talks Pact and Bectu commit to withdrawing all existing guidance and working together to review and resolve jointly any differences without the need for issuing separate guidance."


Despite this statement being agreed six months ago the guidance is still widely used by Pact and misunderstood by productions, to the detriment of our members. "


2. Better terms for above 5 million budget bands

Pact’s proposal


"Producers propose that the shows currently being produced with very high budgets in feature-film style, and generally funded by the US SVODs and studios (such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Disney) should not fall within the scope of the Pact-Bectu TV Agreement where they reach the following budget threshold:


2022 - £8.5 million per broadcast hour

2023 - £10 million per broadcast hour

2024 - £12 million per broadcast hour


It is proposed that these shows are contracted under new terms, which Pact-Bectu will promptly begin negotiating."


This was a late addition to the proposal. Bectu support the involvement of the streamers and are seeking clarity on the calculations of the proposed bands and yearly increments.


3. Prep and Wrap

Pact’s proposal


"The following departments will be contracted on a 11 + 1 basis (10 hours on camera) (11 hours pay):


Costume

Make-up

Locations

Ads

Script supervisor

Production

Art department

VFX


The following departments will be contracted on a 10+1 basis (10 hours pay):


Camera

Grips

Sound

Lighting

All crew will be asked to be ready to start work at their individual agreed call time. All crew will be expected to pack up at the end of the working day. All work in excess of contracted hours is overtime."


Bectu concerns:


We believe everyone should be scheduled equally on a 10+1 with the additional 30/30 prep and wrap for certain departments recorded as contracted overtime.


Art department should not be included in Prep and Wrap.


‘Being ready to start work’ is ambiguous and open to misuse by productions already applying prep and wrap to contracts incorrectly.


Unsociable hours and overtime

Pact Proposal:


"The maximum contracted shooting day will be reduced to 10+1 shoot hours (including continuous and semi-continuous variations)."


Bectu Agreed


4. Dailies get a rest day for night work

Pact Proposal:


"All crew as well as dailies will be entitled to a paid rest day where their contract ends on a night work shooting pattern.


All crew as well as dailies will be entitled to a paid rest day where their contract ends on a night work shooting pattern."


Bectu agreed


5. Weekend work should be paid at a premium

Pact refused to address this


6. Work between 2100 and 2300 will be paid at X work between 2300 and 2400 at X.

Pact refused to address this


7. Bank holidays – T2 if worked T1 if not

Pact proposal

"All UK bank holidays worked in the UK will accrue payment at 2T."


Bectu concerns:


Without increasing rates for weekends bank holiday weeks will shift to start on Tuesday and crew will work more Saturdays. We also seek assurances that Bank holidays will be paid as additional holiday, if not worked.


8. Definition of Semi-Continuous Working Day (SCWD)

Discussed but not part of the Pact proposal. Bectu are seeking alignment with the MMPA definition.


9. Overtime and overtime caps

Pact proposal

  • All work in excess of contracted hours is overtime.

  • All overtime will be added up at the end of the working day and rounded up to the nearest 30 minutes.

  • Overtime will continue to be calculated at the rate of 1.5T.

  • The overtime cap will be increased to £35-£55.

  • This proposal is to apply to all departments uniformly.

Bectu concerns:


The proposal makes long hours and curtailed breaks cheaper and therefore will increase excessive hours for crew.


The OT cap means that some crew are cheaper to employ on OT than their standard hourly rate.


In conclusion

Pact have only addressed one of our negotiating points satisfactorily.


Pact unreasonably delayed talks during 2021, it took nearly 5 months to arrange the first meeting. This has frustrated reps and members who recognise urgent change is necessary.


Despite Bectu putting forward proposals early in the process some have not yet been fully considered. Pact have not given clear reasons why our straightforward 30/30 prep and wrap proposal was declined.


There has been some progress, however Pact are still not addressing the wellbeing, retention and long hours crisis in the industry.


Our members do not want to work overtime they want safe working conditions, time with their families, adequate rest and good mental health. Overtime and unsociable hours payments are an effective way to reduce long hours.


Despite the challenges we are committed to finding a solution through negotiation and we value having the agreement.


We believe in order for these talks to be meaningful the SVoDs need to be involved.


The stronger your union the louder your voice – Bectu members are coming together to fight for better terms and conditions, to be successful you and every crew member working in TV Drama need to be a part of the campaign.


Please visit BECTU's Work to Live Campaign website and register your support in making fundamental changes to your work/life balance.


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