Broadcasting union Bectu’s members have voted “overwhelmingly” to reject trade body Pact’s latest offer and the future of the pair’s TV Drama agreement could now be in doubt.
In the past few minutes, Bectu Head Philippa Childs said members had followed Bectu’s position of voting against the terms and the move has given the union a “clear mandate to seek further discussions.”
The disagreement concerns areas such as working hours and wellbeing, on which the two bodies take different positions.
Deadline understands Pact bosses will meet members to discuss the next steps in two days’ time.
Childs said: “The UK TV drama industry has reached a critical point, with many crew suffering from burn out and low morale and unable to sustain a family life and their own wellbeing. At a time when the industry is thriving, we know many talented workers are leaving due to the unsustainable long hours culture. It’s time to meet these issues head on with an agreement that addresses our members’ concerns and is fit for the future to ensure the industry, and its staff, thrive for years to come.”
Childs stressed that the union “remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement that meets our objective of improving crew wellbeing and reducing excessive and unsociable hours, and supporting industry growth.”
Responding to Childs, Pact Deputy CEO, Director of Business Affairs, Max Rumney, said the body’s members are “understandably disappointed at the rejection of our offer.”
“It was very strong and made real strides in addressing concerns about working practices and the work-life balance,” he added. “If any of the details were not clear, we remain available to provide further clarification.”
Pact has previously warned that the agreement could collapse if Bectu’s plus-thousand member base refused to accept it, and the union members, mainly behind-the-camera TV workers, have been balloting over the past 10 days.
In an unprecedented move, major producers including Banijay, Bad Wolf, Sid Gentle Films and Element Pictures last week took the “unusual step” of writing to hundreds of crew working on scripted productions urging them to sign up to the agreement or risk “the whole of scripted TV being damaged.”
That letter said Bectu’s terms “are seeking to put all genres and budgets of television programs on terms and conditions not even used in the highest big-budget films made by US studios.”