NEWS: Dispute threat to filming of TV ads

Industrial unrest is threatening to bring the commercials production business to a halt in a dispute over weekend and bank holiday pay.

Industrial unrest is threatening to bring the commercials production

business to a halt in a dispute over weekend and bank holiday pay.



The Advertising Film and Video Producers Association wants to abolish

premium rates of pay for weekends and bank holidays. However, talks

broke down when the reforms were unanimously rejected by the

Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union.



Bectu, which represents commercials workers, from directors to runners,

and the AFVPA, which represents production companies, have been

negotiating a new settlement to replace their current agreement on pay

and conditions of work, which runs out at the end of June.



The existing arrangement, which does not cover producers and directors,

gives double pay for weekends, and more for bank holidays.



During negotiations, a number of other substantial modifications were

made to the agreement, but when it came to the issue of overtime, there

was a dramatic clash of opinions which led to the breakdown of talks.



Cecilia Garnett, the chief executive of the AFVPA, commented: ‘The

unions do not understand the nature of the business. This is not about

protecting profit margins, it is about being flexible and modern, and

staying competitive with the rest of Europe.’



Garnett stressed that the problem is a practical one. She said that many

artists are only available at weekends, and often it is only possible to

use preferred locations when the public are not using them.



Phil Hooley, the national organiser for the London production division

of Bectu, said: ‘We are worried that lower rates will lead to more

weekend work, but the AFVPA thinks that freelancers don’t need

weekends.’



The dispute could end in industrial action if the two parties do not

agree on how to move negotiations forward. Garnett proposes that if no

progress is made, the current agreement could be renewed, while Hooley

sees the dispute going to arbitration.



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