Bectu & Pact Reach New TV Drama Agreement


Bectu members working on U.K. independent scripted TV drama productions will be engaged under new terms from January 1, 2023, after a majority voted to accept a new agreement from the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact).

The Pact/Bectu TV Drama Agreement sets out terms and conditions and best working practices for Pact’s drama company member base in areas such as hours, rest breaks, travel time and dealing with complaints.

Bectu submitted a claim to review the current agreement—which dates from May 2017—in May 2021. The union has been in negotiations with Pact over the terms of the agreement since September 2021.

The new terms will apply to all new and existing productions from January 1, 2023, unless the drama has started principal photography in 2022 and has completed more than 50 percent of its filming schedule in 2022 and providing it is scheduled to wrap principal photography by March 31, 2023.

As for shooting hours, scheduled days can only be 10+1: 10 hours worked plus 1 unpaid hour for lunch (11+1 days have been eliminated in TV drama). Sixth shooting days paid at 1.5T and non-shooting sixth days paid at a minimum of 10 hours for 6 hours worked or 1.5T if over 6 hours (2017 had no additional payment for sixth consecutive days). There is also a cap on split days for schedules over 7 weeks.

Workers will be given two weeks’ notice for weekend working. Nightwork is now shooting hours from 11 p.m. (rather than midnight) and compensated weekly instead of after the run of nights. Dailies receive a rest day after night work. Cancellation for dailies now from 1 p.m. (instead of 3 p.m.).

The overtime cap has been increased to £70 per hour from £45. Mileage is paid after 25 miles (30 miles in 2017 agreement). Bank holidays are to be paid at 2T if worked, and workers on band 4 will be paid at 1T if not worked (the 2017 agreement had no increased payment for bank holidays). Grace periods have been abolished (under the 2017 agreement, production could call these twice for no additional pay).

Additionally, undefined ‘prep and wrap’ time has been replaced and limited to one paid hour per day. The agreement also now covers made-for-TV features and streamers.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “This has been a complex, protracted and at times difficult process, and I want to thank all those who voted and our reps, who have dedicated many hours over the last 18 months and have been determined to highlight important issues for our members.

“Our focus has always been on delivering improved terms and conditions for all those working in TV drama. We are pleased to have made some improvements but recognize there is still further progress to be made in addressing key issues that impact our members’ lives.

“We are confident this new agreement will provide a firm basis from which to move forward, and we will maintain our commitment to improving work/life balance and changing the damaging long-hours culture.

“We will be monitoring the new agreement’s implementation closely and will continue to work with the U.K.’s world-class film and TV industry to advance work-life balance for freelancers in the sector and achieve a more sustainable industry for all.”