BBC and ITV drama series threatened with strike action over pay dispute : News : The Stage

Production staff working on series such as Silent Witness, Mr Selfridge and Call the Midwife have threatened to disrupt filming through industrial action over pay.

Backstage union BECTU is preparing to ballot members to establish the level of support for the union’s claim for a £300 daily rate for grips – technicians who build, operate and supervise equipment to mount cameras. The issue, according to the union, has been “brewing for some months now”.

Martin Spence, assistant general secretary at BECTU, said: “Members in our grips branch, all of whom work freelance, have not received regular pay increases for years. Now is the time for a much overdue review but so far our claim is meeting with resistance. It’s time for the employers’ ridiculous penny-pinching to stop”.

The union, which argues that the current going rate for grips has been £250 a day for “some years”, also alleges that the BBC and ITV are using grips from South Africa and Hungary at extra cost to the taxpayer to undermine the UK’s grips’ claims.

Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, said: “This is a blatant waste of the licence fee payers’ money. What is clear is that this dispute is not about affordability but about a clear policy of stifling the legitimate claims of UK crew”.

A spokesman for the BBC said: “This is an industry-wide issue and BBC Drama Production has a meeting scheduled in May to discuss freelance pay under the recognition agreement.”

ITV had not responded as The Stage went to press.

BECTU members will be balloted between April 22 and May 8.

via BBC and ITV drama series threatened with strike action over pay dispute : News : The Stage.

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I am a Freelance Lighting cameraman living in London. I have worked in broadcast television, films and corporate videos for nearly 25 years, starting at the very bottom as a tea boy and working my way up to the heady heights of Lighting Cameraman in London, working all over the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. It's been an interesting journey: from corporate films to news, commercials, children's and reality TV to feature films, working along the way as a runner, clapper loader, spark(electrician), focus puller, camera operator and lighting cameraman. I have met and learnt from all sorts of fascinating people in my working career, many of whom are firm friends to this day.

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