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UK TV Drama Agreement: Bectu & Pact Strike Deal After Almost A Year Of Intense Negotiation

Following almost a year of intense negotiation, UK indie trade body Pact and broadcasting union Bectuhave cleared the path for a new UK TV Drama Agreement to be struck with the union’s members finally voting in favor although narrowly.

Just shy of 60% of the Bectu voters accepted the new terms and conditions, which are in full below and set terms and conditions for the next three years from January 1. Scroll down to read them.

A third ballot has taken place over the past 10 days and broadcasting union Bectu this time indicated it will accept Pact’s compromise on the agreement, which governs areas including working conditions, hours and wellbeing.

“This will provide stability for the industry at a time of economic challenge,” said a Pact statement. “The agreement covers all scripted including regional/nations drama, kids and comedy – productions that can be difficult to finance but are fundamental to the drama landscape because they are a training ground for new and diverse talent and crew members.”

Bectu Head Philippa Childs, whose full statement is below, said the “complex, protracted and at times difficult process” has ended with an agreement that will “provide a firm basis from which to move forward.” More detail on the updated terms is incoming.

The negotiations have been messy and sticking points have repeatedly emerged relating to areas such as overtime but an October delay gave both parties the opportunity to draft an agreement in full so as to avoid any doubt, according to a Bectu spokeswoman and Pact CEO John McVay at the time. Negotiations first broke down in February, revealed by Deadline, over an agreement that had stuck since 2017.

With this being the third ballot, the past months have seen the disagreement spilling out into the public sphere, resulting at times in media briefings from the two.

In September, just prior to the first ballot, which was “overwhelmingly” rejected by Bectu members, major producers such as BanijayBad Wolf and Element Pictures took the unprecedented step of writing to UK crew urging them to sign up to Pact’s agreement or risk “the whole of [UK] scripted TV being damaged,” and subsequently Pact invited commissioners to a “summit” to break the deadlock.

Producers feared that the initial conditions being demanded by Bectu would make some dramas almost impossible to shoot and Deadline understands streaming services had been considering pulling shows out of the UK if Bectu’s full demands were met due to what they would deem too sharp an increase in costs.

Had the agreement failed, drama producers would have been left in the tricky position of forging conditions on a show-by-show basis with no established framework. Rather than setting producers forth into this wild west, the pair have, however, continually extended negotiations in order to reach an agreement.

The resolution comes with the global cost-of-living crisis beginning to bite in the TV world, with costs increasing but the cash-strapped broadcasters struggling to up their budgets. Meanwhile, U.S. studios and streamers are in the midst of major restructures and mass layoffs, which is having a knock-on effect on the globalized UK industry.

The terms in full

Shooting hours

Scheduled days can only be 10+1 – 10 hours worked plus 1 unpaid hour for lunch (11+1 days have been eliminated in TV Drama).

Sixth shooting days paid at 1.5T and non-shooting sixth days paid at a minimum of 10 hours for 6 hours worked or 1.5T if over 6 hours (2017 had no additional payment for sixth consecutive days).

A cap on split days for schedules over 7 weeks.

Weekends, early calls and nightwork 

Workers will be given two weeks’ notice for weekend working.

Nightwork is now shooting hours from 11pm (rather than midnight) and compensated weekly instead of after the run of nights.

Dailies receive a rest day after night work.

Cancellation for dailies now from 1pm instead of 3pm.

Overtime, mileage and other allowances

Overtime cap has been increased to £70 per hour from £45.

Mileage is paid after 25 miles (30 miles in 2017 agreement).

Bank holidays are to be paid at 2T if worked and workers on band 4 will be paid at 1T if not worked (the 2017 agreement had no increased payment for bank holidays).

Grace periods have been abolished (under the 2017 agreement, production could call these twice for no additional pay).


Undefined ‘prep and wrap’ time has been replaced and limited to one paid hour per day for selected departments.

The agreement now covers made for TV features and streamers.

Bectu’s Philippa Child’s statement in full

“This has been a complex, protracted and at times difficult process and I want to thank all those who voted and our reps, who have dedicated many hours over the last 18 months and have been determined to highlight important issues for our members.

“Our focus has always been on delivering improved terms and conditions for all those working in TV drama. We are pleased to have made some improvements but recognise there is still further progress to be made in addressing key issues that impact our members’ lives.  

“We are confident this new agreement will provide a firm basis from which to move forward and we will maintain our commitment to improving work/life balance and changing the damaging long hours culture.

“We will be monitoring the new agreement’s implementation closely and will continue to work with the UK’s world-class film and TV industry to advance work-life balance for freelancers in the sector and achieve a more sustainable industry for all.”


356 views2 comments


Unknown member
Dec 13, 2022

I can’t believe you have not challenged the result of the ballot, has anyone heard of corruption, or have I gone mad ?, that after all

this time of negotiations you have agreed to these proposals,


Unknown member
Dec 13, 2022

Typical BECTU blackmail and what ifs or mightbes' I bet Phillipa Child's and her inflation proof pension hasn't gone backwards. Sorry boys if you voted for this you've lost the plot

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