Bectu pens open letter to AMPTP in support of UK crews

"This crisis is not of the crew’s making. Yet it is they who are paying the price..."

By Gabriella Geisinger 15 Sep 2023

Bectu pens open letter to AMPTP in support of UK crews
Cr: Jakob Owens

Bectu, the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union, head Phillipa Childs has penned an open letter to the AMPTP urging them to support out-of-work UK crew.

In it, Childs writes: "The industry in the United Kingdom, like the US, has ground to a halt because of this dispute and our members, who work as behind-the-scenes crew and background artists, have been laid off under 'force majeure' contracts with very little notice and nil pay. 

"Others who work in the fashion sector, styling actors for promotional opportunities and events, have also lost work for the foreseeable future. "

Childs lays the blame squarely at the AMPTP's feet, adding: "This crisis is not of the crew’s making. Yet it is they who are paying the price of your failure to reach an acceptable agreement with our colleagues in the WGA and SAG-AFTRA." 

She urges them to realise that crew, the ones who enable them to make their huge profits, deserve fair contracts, protection from artificial intelligence, and have the inequalities in the industry addressed. 

The letter also references a survey completed by Bectu, which revealed that 80% of UK film and TV workers have had their employment directly impacted by the strikes with three-quarters are of crew currently out of work. 9 in 10 are worried about their financial security, and 6 in 10 are struggling with their mental health as a result of loss of work and/or financial worries.

Other stats from the survey include:

  • 35% are struggling to pay household bills, rent or mortgages
  • 15% have taken out a loan or other unsecured debt to pay bills
  • 1 in 10 are considering moving in with parents or other family to help with costs
  • Nearly a quarter said they did not see themselves working in the industry in the next 5 years

In a statement accompanying the letter, Childs says: "The AMPTP cannot be ignorant of the huge and detrimental impact their disputes are having on our industry and we urge them to do the right thing and resume negotiations with a genuine resolve to reach a satisfactory agreement.

"Film and TV workers, many of whom have spent decades in the industry, are walking away, unable to sustain a career in the sector that they love. These are highly skilled professionals with transferable skills who can and will take their expertise elsewhere if things do not improve.

"The AMPTP and its members must take notice and get back to the negotiating table. If they want to see the UK and global industry thrive into the future they should be directing all their energies into resolving this dispute."

Read the full letter here.

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