13 January 2009
Employers groups responsible for commercials and independent production have opened talks with BECTU to agree rates for lighting technicians.
Showing strong and welcome signs of seasonal goodwill, the commercials producers association, the APA, made an offer before Christmas to open talks about an agreed commercials ratecard.
"The prospect of serious talks about terms for lighting technicans in commercials and independent production is very encouraging."
Meanwhile, producers body, PACT, met with union representatives on 19 December to pave the way for formal negotiations about a collective agreement for lighting technicians working in TV drama.
The APA attached a condition to their proposal by making their offer subject to BECTU's agreement to withdraw its own ratecard. BECTU rejected this proposal but negotiators have agreed to a temporary suspension of the card, pending progress in the talks which were due to start today, 13 January.
PACT's approach to BECTU has already resulted in informal acceptance of the minimum rates recommended by BECTU from 1 January 2009 - £220 for a 10-hour day and £1100 for 5-day week (both including holiday pay). Several BBC productions are already observing the new BECTU minimums for TV drama.
BECTU officials are hoping that talks with PACT can progress at an even pace to deliver an agreement in February. However, no predictions are being made about how long the talks will take to conclude.
As far as the APA is concerned, BECTU will look to broaden the scope of talks to allow for the possibility of a collective agreement governing all terms of employment.
"The prospect of serious talks about terms for lighting technicans in commercials and independent production is very encouraging." commented BECTU national official, Spencer MacDonald.
"However, in the meantime, it’s business as usual. Our advice to members is, If you work on a freelance contract in TV for indies, the BBC or anyone else, you should seek to negotiate the best deal you can, job by job, just as you always have done." MacDonald explained.