In the olden days, way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the TV picture was made up of 405 black and white lines, employers in the TV industry had developed the bad habit of using unpaid workers to staff the junior levels of their productions on the basis that it was “good experience” for them. Bit like it being good to beat children to stop them talking too much or to make them use their potty.
We now live in more enlightened times of course. But that didn’t happen just by accident, it came about because a group of industry freelancers got together (online) and decided to agitate for something to be done to stop that kind of thing, as well as the practice of employers using freelancers for illegally long hours of work and failing to give paid holiday (or payments in lieu) to their workers.
As a result employers don’t now use unpaid workers. And they do pay holiday pay. And……well let’s put the long hours thing to one side (you can’t win them all). All in all though TVWRAP is generally now considered to have been a thoroughly good thing, loved by all and everyone (except John McVay of PACT of course, who moaned and grumbled but was summarily forced to make his members bite the bullet and treat their workers fairly).
So how did it all happen? Well if you’re interested to know then do read this, a piece that’s just been written by two whiskery old boffins from the groves of academe, one of whom being one of those very people who did that agitating thing way back then when he was a boy.
If nothing else it does illustrate that direct action can work, opening your mouth when things aren’t as they should be is the right thing to do and that it takes just a few people with a head of steam and an online presence to effect change for the better.
Happy 17th Birthday TVWRAP.