the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

22 May 2009

BECTU has today (Friday) served notice to Pinewood Studios management of a planned ballot for industrial action.

The decision follows a breakdown in talks between the two sides after months of effort by the BECTU team, led by supervisory official, Tom Bell.

The dispute centres on the repeated failure by studios management to observe its recognition agreement with BECTU.

The agreement provides staff with the right to representation over pay and terms and conditions of employment. This includes union support in the event of proposals to alter terms and conditions or to reduce the size of the workforce.

In recent months, management have sought to impose changes to terms and conditions on staff without reference to the agreement. In addition, the company is seeking to achieve compulsory redundancies without reference to BECTU.

Approximately 70 staff across the Group's sites at Pinewood, Shepperton and Teddington will be eligible to take part in the ballot which gets underway next Friday 29 May.

If the union secures a mandate for industrial action, strikes are likely which will affect studio production as well as day-to-day studio operations.

Tom Bell, supervisory official, said: "In all my years as a full-time union official, I have never met with the levels of duplicity being displayed by the Pinewood Group's managers.

" We have offered to meet them at ACAS and they have refused. We now have no alternative but to ballot in order to defend the rights and interests of our members."