To join the VFX branch of BECTU, you can either sign up online via the BECTU website , or alternatively you can print out a membership form and post it to BECTU. We bring copies of the membership forms to our lunchtime meetups – feel free to ask us for one!
What does it cost?
BECTU membership is £10 per month (or if you prefer, less than half a pint per week). This money is used to pay for leaflets, website costs, BECTU training sessions, the core team at BECTU that negotiate with our employers for us, and the various perks you get as a member. None of it makes its way to our pockets – everyone on the VFX branch committee is a volunteer.
What do I get?
The full list of membership benefits are available on the BECTU website; they include:
- Discounts off BFI membership (film screenings, etc)
- Discounts off Apple products (Macbooks, Final Cut, etc)
- Comprehensive service on all legal matters arising from employment including breach of contract, discrimination, unfair dismissal, equal pay, working time, monies owed, and redundancy. Advice and, where appropriate, full representation in legal proceedings
- Guaranteed price promises on services including gym membership, airport parking, car insurance, books and tax returns
- Tax consultant & financial services (particularly helpful for freelancers)
- Occasional email updates on recognition campaigns, career workshops, etc
- A monthly newsletter
If you feel the company you work for is not treating you fairly, BECTU’s legal service will be happy to offer you advice, to sit in with you in meetings with your company if necessary, or even to take your employer to an employment tribunal if your employer is indeed acting illegally.
Most important of all, by joining you’ll be adding your voice to the chorus of people that want VFX companies to stop relying on excessive overtime to deliver project after project. What are your evenings and weekends worth to you?
Will my employer know?
No. BECTU keeps its membership list completely confidential and doesn’t share that list with anyone. The only people who’ll know you’re a member outside of BECTU are the people you choose to tell yourself.
What happens if I become a member, and then move to a different company?
If you remain in the UK, then all of your benefits and protections as a BECTU member automatically follow you as you move from one company to another.
Obviously your working hours/pay/etc may vary as you move from company to company, depending on whether your old/new company have recognised BECTU or not and what common agreement each company has reached with its members. However, our goal is to get recognition for any department that wants it at every major VFX vendor in the UK. This would mean that even when you moved between companies, you could always expect to be treated fairly wherever you go. If you remain in the UK, it’s still in your interest to remain a BECTU member.
For those who move abroad, BECTU has ties with IATSE (an equivalent organisation in the states). If you decide to move to the US or Canada to work, then BECTU can help you to transfer your membership over to IATSE for the duration of your stay over there. Simply get in touch with BECTU and let them know, and they’ll guide you through the process.
What can I do to help?
Spread the word! We have the infrastructure, we have the committee, we have the law on our side, we have BECTU ready to act on our behalf – all we need now is the members. Unfortunately there is no room to sit on the fence on this one.
If we can prove that enough VFX workers support us in this and would like to see overtime reduced, the VFX companies become legally obliged to negotiate with us. Every new member that we get strengthens our hand and pushes us closer to our goal.