the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect
Agreement with Pact covering major motion pictures edges closer

16 July 2017

After several years, and hundreds of hours of negotiation, a new agreement covering terms and conditions for major feature film production is coming into view.

A memorandum of agreement, concluded between BECTU and Pact, supported by the Production Guild, was signed at Leavesden Studios on 30 June. That agreement is now being revised by an external law firm to produce a more formal agreement to be presented to members in a ballot.

It is hoped the ballot will get underway in the next few weeks once BECTU reps have approved the reworked document. 

The agreement, if accepted, will cover productions with budgets of £30million and above which start principal photography after 31 January 2018; approximately 80 per cent of the work undertaken by BECTU's film members is financed at this level. 

What will the agreement cover?

New terms proposed will set out a 55-hour paid week, rules on overtime (which will be voluntary), an end to the grace period, 6th and 7th day working, time off the clock, night work, meal breaks, travel and bases, bank holidays and more.  

BECTU members in relevant branches of the London Production and Regional Production Divisions will be balloted. As with the new TV Drama agreement, members will be asked to vote only if they believe that they will be directly affected by the deal.

This ballot will be conducted using the balloting service operated by BECTU's parent union, Prospect. All affected members who have an email address in BECTU’s membership system will receive an online ballot; affected members without an email address in the database will receive a postal ballot. A unique reference will be applied to each member to ensure that only one vote is cast. This ballot will run over three weeks and if the deal is approved BECTU will sign the agreement shortly afterwards.

Spencer Macdonald, national secretary, said:

"BECTU will be asking every branch to recommend this agreement to their members as “the best that can be achieved through negotiation.” 

"I'm delighted that we have finally concluded negotiations on the first standalone feature film agreement for all crew since the days of our predecessor union, ACTT. If members approve the agreement, the next round of talks will cover the same issues but for productions on lower budgets."

A big thank you to our reps 

Spencer Macdonald and the head of BECTU, Gerry Morrissey, paid tribute to BECTU reps across all departments who have put so much time into getting the union to this point.

Speaking to the summer issue of the union's journal, Stage Screen and Radio, they said:

"It has taken a huge effort on their part [our reps] which they have willingly put in, despite their own working commitments, in order to bring their fellow members to the best possible deal."

The union is urging every branch to hold a meeting prior to the launch of the ballot to discuss the agreement.

Members who wish to vote online should ensure that BECTU holds their current preferred email address; members should write to our membership department quoting their membership number to ask for an update to their record. (Similarly if members need to update their postal address they can drop a line to our membership department).

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