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This is a naive view that owes more to the outdated principles of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