A week or so ago, it was finally confirmed from the very highest levels of HMRC that all freelancers on PAYE could be recontracted and then furloughed with immediate effect.
This was great news for a large number of companies as the management of them had badly wanted to help out all their freelancers but had been a bit nervous to do so until they got some firm proof that HMRC wasn’t going to turn up at some later date and demand the money back.
As a result lots of them followed the lead of the BBC, All3Media and other companies and groups and got on with furloughing, to the huge relief of many TV workers, all of whom greatly appreciated the loyalty their companies were showing.
Not all companies though. Loyalty it seems, turns out not to be a quality much in evidence within the offices of Zinc Media, a group which has a number of production companies under its banner (Blakeway, Blakeway North, Brook Lapping, Films of Record, Reef and Tern).
Because while other companies were doing the decent thing, those who run Zinc decided it would actually be rather a good time to scuttle indoors and close the gates behind them, preferring to shut up shop and not to furlough a lot of now very anxious freelancers who are left wondering how they were going to pay their bills.
When asked why they were not helping their freelancers in the way other companies were doing, the Head of Human Resources, Katie O’Callaghan told them that furloughing wasn’t something the company wanted to do, while further enquiries of senior management (Chairman Christopher Satterthwaite, CEO Mark Browning) produced no response at all.
So while Zinc is happy to wave around their various awards on their website, it seems they are somewhat less keen to offer support to those who actually made the shows that earned them. Not much loyalty on evidence at all.
Worth remembering if Zinc Media ever starts looking for any loyalty back after the current crisis passes.