Strikes’ impact on UK crew is severe: Bectu

10 August 2023

As the SAG-AFTRA strikes continue, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs urges the AMPTP to negotiate realistically to bring talks to a successful resolution.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“We stand firmly with SAG-AFTRA and WGA East and West. This is a fight with many of the same employers who frequently undervalue crew in the UK, and therefore our solidarity with US actors and writers is important for raising standards domestically and globally.

“However, many of our members know only too well the knock-on effects of the US dispute and are justifiably worried about their future. These concerns are compounding what has already been a very challenging period for film and TV workers in the UK.

“We have been closely monitoring the perfect storm that has been brewing in the UK film and TV production sector, and it’s clear that the various factors contributing to the slowdown will only be exacerbated if AMPTP fails to reach agreement with SAG-AFTRA. The AMPTP must tone down the rhetoric and negotiate realistically to bring talks to a successful resolution.

“Much of the rhetoric surrounding the dispute is about the actors, but the impact on crew is severe and cannot be underestimated. AMPTP cannot claim to be negotiating fairly and in good faith while thousands and thousands of crew, who are the backbone of the global screen industries, are suffering.

“Bectu remains committed to ensuring that the film and TV sector, and those who work in it, continue to thrive, and that includes taking a stand against unacceptable terms and conditions either in the UK or with our colleagues abroad.  Unfortunately we know only too well that many AMPTP members are not responsible employers and do not have a track record of treating crew fairly. For too long we have seen a pattern of engaging crew where they are picked up and dropped again with little notice, protection or reassurances about future employment; they are often the first to suffer and the hardest hit when production is impacted.

“We will continue to do everything we can to support our members through this difficult time and advocate for better protections for film and TV freelancers from precarious employment, including speaking with employers about support for crew. The UK film and TV sector benefits from a huge amount of flexibility from its freelance workforce and it’s critical that employers do not forget this.”