Bectu launches Fit4Purpose campaign

25 May 2021

After six months of consultation with union members and non-members, across departments and craft associations working in theatres, Bectu has launched the Fit4Purpose campaign.

Fit for purpose imageThe need for change has become increasingly clear over the last year as employers and union members have worked together to save the industry – save its buildings, productions and close-knit teams of skilled workers. Employers and union members need to work together again to seize this opportunity to modernise, to reset terms and conditions and re-balance working lives. Bectu membership has always been strong and has doubled in size during the pandemic. Our members are asking with one voice for change to happen.

The cultural industries suffered greatly at the hands of the pandemic, with thousands of freelancers left without employment, income, or government support. Many employees were furloughed but many also fell through the cracks. Despite the devastation caused, the shutdown of the theatre industry allowed the space and time for workers to step back and assess how aspects of the industry such as the long hours culture and poor terms and conditions affect their day to day lives. Bectu members are clear on the need to get the sector back on its feet over the coming months but members are equally clear, over the coming year, that they want to work with employers to overhaul agreements in order to safeguard the long term future of the industry.

Key Requests

Members are campaigning for employers across the industry to:

  • Consolidate the basic wage, so that workers do not have to rely on overtime to make ends meet
  • Ensure that overtime is understood as voluntary and nobody is pressured into working long hours
  • Keep the working week to five days, with reasonable basic hours
  • Encourage more flexible working and job sharing
  • End all precarious contracts (e.g. zero hours) and replace with guaranteed hours across a variety of reference periods to accommodate the diversity of workers’ personal lives and caring responsibilities
  • Prioritise equal opportunities and fair recruitment.

The principles behind the Fit4Purpose campaign coincide with that of the Fair Employment Charters drawn up by metro mayors, the 2017 Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, the findings of a recent TUC poll and the Scottish Government Fair Work First Guidance.

There is clear agreement across industry bodies about the necessary steps to change the theatre industry and the important role of unions in catalysing the shift to a fairer working environment.

Fit4Purpose aims to alter the nature of the theatre industry and create a fair working environment for all staff in the long term.

No business should be run on the charity of its staff; it is time for real change in the theatre industry.