Unions representing non-fiction TV workers in Canada and the United Kingdom are collaborating to highlight the problems with working conditions in the sector.
The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) and BECTU delivered a set of principles to production and broadcast executives attending Realscreen, an industry conference taking place at the TUC’s London Congress Centre on Oct. 8 and 9.
The principles — which are also supported by the Writers Guild of America East — are modeled after the BECTU’s Code of Practice and seek commitments from production companies to guarantee workers are paid fairly and given reasonable working hours.
Workers in the UK and Canada have reported similar concerns about unreasonable working hours, unpaid time and a lack of safety in non-fiction productions.
“Right now, this is an unsustainable sector of the production industry,” said Carmel Smyth, national president of the CMG.
“People are burning out and getting hurt. They’re telling us they want a voice and standards so they can earn a living making programming for years to come. We’re eager to sit down with production companies and discuss how to make it better.”
Reasonable time off as well as appropriate paid time off are another request, along with affordable health insurance and a guarantee of no reprisals or penalties against workers represented by a union or guild.
The union also requested terms negotiated with workers be sealed with a written contract, in good faith and a timely manner.
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