This week, BECTU released “State of Play”, its report on working conditions in the TV industry. It does not make for pretty reading.
No surprise to those who work in the industry of course, this can be a very tough arena in which to ply ones trade. The report draws on the experience of numerous freelancers in the industry and is well worth a read if you are currently working in unscripted TV production, or are considering a career in it. TV can be, of course, a fun industry in which to make a living but it can also be the Wild West when it comes to your rights, the demands placed on you and the structure of your working life .
So give it a read. But also think about how you can be part of making that life better for yourself and others. There are some great recommendations for action contained within it but those will only be secured if there is pressure placed on broadcasters and those in authority to achieve them. A good first step for everyone is to join BECTU. Strength in numbers and all that, and it has great benefits even if things are going well at work. Also join or follow groups like Greg’s Viva La PD or Adeel’s TV Mindset and of course all those Facebook groups where freelancers gather (and often campaign) like Telly Mums or Share My Telly Job.
And do call out bad practice if you see it at work. There should be fair recruitment, no-one should be required to work overlong hours or for pitiful pay, you should not be bullied or harassed or have unreasonable expectations placed upon, you do have the right to have a life alongside your working one. And feel free to email us if you feel you can’t call it out yourself (completely confidential – firstname.lastname@example.org), there are many ways to achieve change which don’t involve individuals putting their heads above the parapet.
Will anything ever change? It’s up to us as much as “them”.