OPINION: Union wants to cushion workers against reality

So the Advertising Film and Video Producers Association wants to abolish premium rates of pay for commercials workers who work at weekends and bank holidays (Campaign, last week).

So the Advertising Film and Video Producers Association wants to abolish

premium rates of pay for commercials workers who work at weekends and

bank holidays (Campaign, last week).



The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union, on the

other hand, is worried that overturning the status quo will lead to more

weekend work, an anti-social but inevitable fact of life that staff in

agencies and client companies have faced, without enjoying overtime pay,

for years.



Bectu, rightly, wants to protect the interests and working conditions of

its 30,000 members. And it has seen to this by negotiating automatic

annual pay rises, linked to RPI. The minimum daily rate of pay for a

commercials lighting cameraman is now pounds 600 a day, but most receive

nearer the maximum of pounds 975.



Now Bectu wants to further cushion its members from the commercial

realities that other sectors of the industry have faced for years. And

it has been whipping up quite a storm as an anonymous fax sent by a

camera team to production companies this week reveals.



‘The AFVPA’s idea,’ says the fax, ‘has been rejected by a mass meeting

and opens the way for yourselves to be pressured into working weekends

in studios, and, believe me, there is nothing more depressing and anti-

social.’



This is a naive view that owes more to the outdated principles of

restrictive closed-shop practices than it does to the needs of the

modern commercials industry where all parties have had to fight hard to

get jobs and maintain London’s position as the world’s commercials

capital.



The AFVPA argues that Bectu does not understand the nature of the

business, where competition is keen and flexibility is a requirement,

not an option.



If Bectu insists on double pay for its members who work at weekends, and

more for bank holidays, more commercials will be shot abroad and the

entire UK commercials production industry will be the loser.



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