ScreenSkills is backing a Coalition for Change with major broadcasters and other TV industry bodies on how to improve working practices for freelancers.
All the public service broadcasters including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, as well as Sky and UKTV, have committed to taking part in quarterly discussions which will also include the entertainment union Bectu and producers’ trade association Pact.
The meetings, which have been pulled together by Adeel Amini from the TV Mindset, which supports the mental health of TV freelancers, will address issues including employment and recruitment practices, health and safety, workplace culture, race and diversity, bullying and harassment, training and talent progression, new talent and mental health and wellbeing.
Organisations in the coalition have signed a document with a statement of intent that says: “We believe every freelancer working in our industry deserves decent working and that we should all advocate a culture that promotes respect, professionalism and investment in people.”
“The best creative content will come from an industry that puts people first, celebrates difference and enables us all to thrive. Ours is an industry made up of a huge range of different companies, broadcasters and talented people, and we all have a role to play in shaping the way we work.”
Adeel Amini, founder of the TV Mindset, said: “The Covid crisis has brought freelancer issues into sharp focus, as well as the precarious nature of our industry as a whole. It is critical that we don't emerge from this the same way we went in, and I believe that future change can only be achieved by having the entire industry working together."
Seetha Kumar, chief executive of ScreenSkills, said: “If we are to build back better and stronger from the Covid crisis then that must include looking at working practices in television and what needs to be done to create a fairer, safer and more constructive working environment. Freelancers are the cornerstone of the screen industries and we look forward to collaborating with our colleagues in this coalition to support them more effectively.”
Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “These conversations are an historic opportunity to reset and create a new deal for a part of the industry whose experience and wellbeing have been overlooked in the past.”
The first meeting will take place at the end of September or early October and will continue every quarter until December 2021.
The full list of organisations who have signed up are:
- Channel 4
- Channel 5 (ViacomCBS)
- Film and TV Charity
- The TV Collective
- Share My Telly Job
- Directors UK
- Disabled People in TV
- Viva La PD
- The Unit List
- Women in Film and TV
The letter signed by all parties can be accessed here