MPC Rethinks Its Sickness Policy

Yesterday MPC announced a U-turn to the company’s sickness policy which had already been officially updated less than six months ago.

With MPC’s management perhaps feeling pressure from the the wave of VFX unionisation sweeping the industry, freelancers on 1 year or less contracts are now entitled to up to 5.5 days of sick pay per year. This is a huge improvement as up until now employees had 0.0 days of sick pay during their first year of employment.

This simply would not have happened if artists in the MPC comp department had not previously joined BECTU in big numbers and asked the Union to formally put forward a recognition bid on their behalf.

It’s only by joining the Union and following a legal and democratic path established by the government that companies such as MPC will ever listen to its workforce.

MPC keeps being openly hostile to the idea of a Union, depicting it as a “third party” who wants to dictate policies, while not realising that the Union is nothing but their own employees, who are unhappy about how they are being treated and who are asking for change.

BECTU will keep pushing for recognition at all London VFX facilities in the months and years to come, and you can be sure to see more results like this happening.

We hope you will join us. No more fear!

  • vfxdude

    This is just sad… That was with the previous post and now this one where Bectu is claiming all of these improvements are thanks to them when honestly they haven’t done anything really. I mean they had the chance to get full recognition for the whole of MPC and if I am to believe the previous post they have tons of members and followers so why did they back out? Makes it sound like maybe they don’t have enough paying members for them to make any money… Hence the current discount on membership… Makes you think twice if they are really that much different from any other form of management and if they really are doing it for the benefit of us? I think, after this post, I might just stick with what I know…

    • another dude

      Agree. Bectu is a third party, desperately trying to recruit paying members, by bitching publicly and aggressively about vfx houses and claiming other people’s achievements for themselves. How do they think anyone would consider them to represent them?

    • admin would like to extend a warm welcome to all of MPC’s sock puppets!

    • LSP2

      Right, quite a few things that need correcting here.

      Firstly, the claim that “BECTU is claiming all these improvements are thanks to them when they haven’t done anything really”. Can you explain why else MPC would implement and then reverse a policy like this, if not because of the recognition bid? They clearly don’t make changes like that just out of the goodness of their hearts – 600+ comments on the Variety article attests to that. Also, BECTU has done plenty – they’ve gathered over 500 members and have started talks with both MPC and Framestore on working conditions. Do you have any evidence that shows MPC were planning to do this anyway before the bid was launched?

      Second, “they had the chance to get full recognition for the whole of MPC and if I am to believe the previous post they have tons of members and followers so why did they back out?” No – BECTU had 70%+ of comp, but not the whole company. They withdrew their bid temporarily – not because of lack of members, but because the comp dept was shrinking due to Junglebook ending. Once a recognition bid goes to the CAC, you need to be sure your department will remain larger than 20 people for the 6 months that a bid can take. BECTU couldn’t be sure of this, and felt it was wiser to withdraw the bid for now whilst the downsizing was happening. They are quite prepared to file it again once comp at MPC start growing again. MPC are painting this as some kind of victory for them – it is not. BECTU will be at their door until they start treating their people fairly. This problem is not going away, and the sooner MPC realise this the better it’ll be for them and their employees.

      You claim that BECTU doesn’t have enough paying members to make any money. Do you have proof? Their website states have in excess of 25,000 members across the UK, many of whom are paying higher rates than the VFX branch are – a few hundred members clearly isn’t going to make a big difference to them. If BECTU was doing this just for money, then why would they offer everyone such a low rate? Seems like a poor way to sort out money problems to me!

      Finally, MPC’s working practices are clearly a problem – 70%+ members and 600+ comments on Variety attests to this. They responded to the recognition bid by trying to fire a union member, and threatening VISA problems for international members (both of which are illegal). They’ve threatened wage cuts for other depts if the bid goes through. BECTU is the first ray of hope we’ve had in this industry in a very long time – why are you defending MPC here?

      • vfxdude

        Don’t get me wrong. I am not defending MPC in any sort of way. I was there during the periods that have led to the 600+ comments and I have been in the industry long enough to know it needs changing.

        The bit that bugs me is Bectu claiming things that honestly they can’t prove either. I don’t have prove that MPC changed it’s policy because of Bectu but does Bectu have proof of the reverse?

        If Bectu is as great as they claim they are they don’t need posts like this one to proof their point. It just makes them come across as another bully trying to force their way through and take control.
        The comment from ‘VFX branch’ is a perfect example of that. ‘Oh you don’t want to union up so you must be on MPC’s side’.
        Nope I am on my own side trying to figure out what is best and think the kind of claiming Bectu is doing in the last two posts isn’t useful unless they can back it with proof which was not in the original posts.

    • ProperVFXDude

      @vfxdude why BECTU is holding fire? Easy to answer the question.
      1-what would you do if the bargainin unit of a certain department has seen 70% of the member reduction? Well that could be not considered a bargaining unit any longer. There is a huge difference of having a bargaining unit of 100 people which 70% of it is member of the Union and a bargaining unit of 30 people with 50% part of the Union. The CAC could not agree on the Union request.
      If that would happen BECTU members could not try again a recognition bid for 3 years.
      2-why holding the fire? Because BECTU wants to increase membership throughout the VFX industry and going for the recognition bid again.

      Without BECTU intervention, MPC would have kept going that way without even listening to a single word artists had to say. Ergo 600 posts on “Varaiety”

  • would like to extend a warm welcome to all of MPC’s sock puppets!

    • another dude

      Thanks for confirming my comment

      • ProperVFXDude

        I am with the idea that if MPC is making so many changes is only due to the fact of the recognition bid BECTU had put through. “Bright idea” ” monthly meetings” is only the reaction to what BECTU haS started.

  • Keith Devlin

    BECTU is a union not the lone ranger. Unions work by building support through solidarity. Dismissing a union as powerless because it has too few members and then in the same breath criticising them for campaigning to increase that membership is one of the most counter intuitive things I’ve heard. You join a union not for your own personal gain but to hopefully ensure that other people in the industry are better protected by group representation. The more people join , the more ability a union has to represent its members.

    Last time I checked my BECTU membership was about £300 a year. See how much support you will get from a private solicitor for £300.

    I’ve never had to use BECTU or any union but I’m happy to pay that amount of money to a union that has some possibility of protecting workers in the media industry.

    Join the union , then you can complain about them or to them if you think you are not being represented correctly. However complaining about a union ( in this case also the only relevant union in the UK for your industry) that you are not a member of is akin to complaining about a doctor who you never went to see for not diagnosing your illness.

    Join the union, what have you got lose exactly?

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