Film construction vote begins

A postal ballot has begun on a ground-breaking agreement for construction grades on feature films.

Members and non-members among carpenters, painters, plasterers, riggers, and stage-hands are voting on a new three-year deal, which includes a pay increase and a reduction in the working week.

The package was hammered out in negotiations between BECTU, the Producers' Association for Cinema and Television, and the Production Guild, and covers construction grades on feature films.

If voters accept the new deal, their working week will be cut from 50 to 42.5 hours in January 2004, and reduced further to 40 hours in 2005.

Pay rates for painters, plasterers, and riggers will rise to £850 a week, including holiday pay, under the new deal, a rise equal to 25% on hourly rates. Stage-hands will see their weekly wage rise to £780.

Talks on a new agreement for construction staff were prompted by a dispute earlier in 2003 which almost production on three major features to a standstill.

In the discussions, the union agreed to concede a traditional afternoon tea break in return for new rest and refreshment arrangements on set.

Ballot papers were sent to all grades covered by the new deal early this week, and the count closes on January 5.

Any construction workers in the features industry who have not received a form should contact Martin Spence on 020 7346 0900.

19 December 2003