Bectu young member credits union for career success

Guy Bishop

Location assistant and Bectu young member Guy Bishop has praised the union for supporting him in his career since joining in October 2018 by declaring ‘your union has your back’.

“Like many of you, I moved into London last year in search of work (and a chance at independence),” Guy said as part of a post on his Facebook Group Location Department Juniors. “I existed on a work/sleep/repeat cycle which frankly was pretty boring, but gave me a lot of time to bemoan the recent scrapping of the overtime threshold to friends – one of which suggested that I come along to a working group to discuss it. In order to attend, I had to be a Bectu member and since I finally had a contracted job, I thought ‘why not?!'”

“I think we all naively expected that one meeting would set the world to rights. Funnily enough it didn’t. Raised voices and circular arguments battled in the room while I sat at the back and wondered when it would end. Despite the fact that we all want roughly the same thing, there are different enough approaches that the details take an age to clear up. Much like politics and legal shindigs, nothing happens quickly.”

Being in a union gives you a voice

“The overtime issue and conversations with the lovely [Bectu official] Paula Lamont, whose support has been invaluable ever since, convinced me to attend branch meetings. I’ll be honest, I was the only location assistant for the first few I went to, surrounded by managers, scouts and a couple of experienced assitant location managers, but I persevered, partly because I wanted to learn more and meet useful people, but also because I saw something wrong with the industry – the lack of guidance or training for newcomers who might have all the enthusiasm but (due to daily employment or last minute place filling) had no experience on sets.”

“As a marshal or assistant, with no affiliations, in an industry which cries out for skilled labour daily, there wasn’t anything I could do to change this. At least, not without Bectu’s help.”

Supporting new starters

“In my short spell as a member, I’ve been trying to draw the focus of our branch down to its newest recruits. It is the whole purposed of the Location Department Juniors Facebook group. Our ‘Marshal Mixer’ & Networking initiatives, are (to my knowledge) the first of their kind and the upcoming event in September (if you’ve been living under a rock, you should check out our events tab) has drawn interest from employers on gigantic feature films, the managers who attend will likely be taking down every name they can – because they will have a lot of demand for marshals in the coming months or years. My insistence on only advertising jobs with Bectu Rates might be risky to flaunt in front of certain employers, but I’ll happily run that risk so that the rest of you can be paid PROPERLY for your time.”

“I’ve volunteered as a youth rep for our branch and have sat in on meetings for the London Production Division of Bectu, observing and voting on policy which will affect all of us, members or not. I was a delegate at the national conference and have made many useful connections from my time there – hell I’ve been working for the last three months as a direct result of a handshake over a branch meeting.”

Bectu have helped me get to where I want to be

“My experience of Bectu has directly lead to me getting where I want to be, for the first time in my career, I’m turning jobs down or cherry-picking the good ones available to me. Getting involved could get you up there too. It’s worth considering.”

“On top of all the unquantifiables, there’s the facts, the numbers: discounts on Apple products, cinema tickets, exercise gear, gym memberships, and all sorts to make life a little easier.”

“And, without wanting to sound like more of a salesman than I already do; for £38 a year, you buy into Bectu’s Public Liability Insurance – which will cover you when a production refuse to save you from damage charges, or pay you £100 week if you get injured at work or on your commute. Don’t worry about the cost, as long as it’s less than £10,000,000.00 (hah) then don’t fuss.”

“Your Union has your back.”

Do you want help starting in the film industry?

If you want to further your career and enact positive change like Guy has, join Bectu here.