The PACT Agreement for Major Motion Pictures

A new agreement covering major motion pictures production was decisively voted for by BECTU members in November 2017. It is the first of its kind in the UK and was implemented on 2 April 2018. The agreement has been welcomed across the industry and is the result of a successful partnership between union reps, producers and employers’ associations.
Below are some of the highlights. The full agreement is available for download from the BECTU website.

Please note that the agreement only applies to workers employed directly by the production companies, therefore not employees of VFX facilities, although this can change if enough VFX workers join the union and ask for it.

1.2 This Agreement will apply to all crew members engaged on Major Motion Pictures that commence principal photography after Monday 2 April 2018.

1.3 For the purposes of this Agreement, a Major Motion Picture shall mean a feature film intended for initial cinematic exhibition with a production budget equal to or in excess of £30,000,000 (Thirty Million Pounds Sterling) (the Major Picture Threshold).

2. The Working Day and the Working Week

2.1 The Standard Working Week
The Standard Working Week is a 55 hour 5 day work week. This can be varied by the producer upon payment of overtime and other premiums as set out in this Agreement, with the understanding that all overtime is voluntary.

2.2  The Working Day – All crew during pre-production and non-shooting crew during principal photography 
Outside the period of principal photography and/or for non-shooting crew members, the standard working day comprises 11 hours worked with 1 hour for lunch (the Standard Working Day or SWD).
(b) Post Production Crew: Post Production crew members will follow the Standard Working Week and the Standard Working Day applicable to non-shooting crew and will be entitled to Non-Camera Overtime, if applicable, in accordance with Section 3.3(a)(ii), but shall not be entitled to Camera Overtime. Start times will be the times at which each crew member starts work, which will not necessarily be the same as Unit Call times for the Post Production Department.
Lunch breaks may be ‘staggered’ under the direction of the 1st Assistant Editor or Post Production Supervisor in co-ordination with production, and post-production crew members will be expected to manage their own time in order to take their breaks. Lunch break penalties shall not apply.

3. Working Outside the Normal Working Day – Overtime

3.2 Prep and Wrap
(a) Specific Departments: For the following departments, the crew member’s rate is deemed to include, in addition to the 55 hours worked, up to 30 minutes at the beginning and 30 minutes at the end of each day, if required and in accordance with current working practices, without any overtime being due:
– ADs
– Accounts
– Costume
– Hair and Make-up
– Locations
– Production
– Script Supervisor
VFX

3.3 Overtime Rates
(a) For the purposes of calculating overtime, the crew member’s hourly rate is deemed to be his/her contractual weekly rate divided by 55 (Hourly Rate), or for daily crew members, his/her contractual daily rate divided by 11 (save for Rigging Electricians whose rates are as per clause 2.2(a)). Overtime will be calculated at either the Hourly Rate multiplied by 1.5 (1.5T) or the Hourly Rate multiplied by 2 (2T), depending on whether overtime comprises Camera Overtime or Non Camera Overtime (see subsections 3.3(a)(i) and (ii) below). The attached Appendix details examples of overtime rates.

(ii) Non-Camera Overtime including pre calls and de-rigs is paid at 1.5T for any overtime, payable in 30 minutes increments (and pro-rated accordingly for partial hours) and subject always to the Maximum Overtime Rate and the prep and wrap provisions of clause 3.2.

(c) For all crew members, the overtime rate may be no more than £81.82 per hour (Maximum Overtime Rate). For the avoidance of doubt the Maximum Overtime Rate shall apply to all hourly rates uplifted hereunder including in relation to 6th and 7th days, Bank Holidays and Broken Turnaround.

4. Working Outside the Normal Working Week – 6th and 7th Days
4.1 6th Days
(a) Any 6th consecutive day or night worked will be paid at 1.5T for actual hours worked, with a minimum guarantee of 6 hours for non-shooting crew and 8 hours for shooting crew.

4.2 7th Days
(a) Any 7th consecutive day worked will be paid at 2T for actual hours worked, with a minimum guarantee of 6 hours for non-shooting crew and 8 hours for shooting crew.

4.3 For the avoidance of doubt:
(a) Saturdays and Sundays shall not be paid as a premium day unless they are consecutive 6th or 7th days worked; and
(b) all hourly rates for 6th and 7th days are subject to the Minimum Camera Overtime Rate and capped at the Maximum Overtime Rate.

5.3 Broken Turnarounds
Producers should endeavour to give crew members eleven hours’ turnaround between the individual crew member’s wrap to his/her call (Turnaround Period). In the event of any shorter period of turnaround:
(a) the producer should wherever possible allow the crew member to take an equivalent period of compensatory rest, and shall in any event afford the crew member such protection as may be appropriate in order to safeguard the crew member’s health and safety; and
(b) in the event that a crew member is required to work during the Turnaround Period (Broken Turnaround) the crew member should be paid at 1.5T for any such time, which payment should accrue in 30 minute increments (and shall be pro-rated accordingly), subject to an overall cap of £45 per hour (or £22.50 per 30 minute increment).

5.4 Meal Breaks
(a) Standard Working Day (SWD): During principal photography crew members should be generally entitled to take their lunch break no later than 6 hours after unit call.

If non-shooting crew are asked by the producers to shorten their lunch break from one hour, then infringed time will be paid in 30 minute increments at 1.5T.
For the avoidance of doubt the Head of Department for non-shooting crew should manage their department so that crew members are able to take their lunch break (save as where requested above). In the event that such Head of Department wishes to curtail or delay the lunch break of crew members, prior approval must be sought from the Unit Production Manager, and the penalties above will apply.

5.6 Bank Holidays
(a) Where a crew member is contracted by the producer to work over a period which includes a United Kingdom official public holiday or foreign official public holiday where work takes place abroad (Bank Holiday), but the crew member is not actually required to work on that Bank Holiday, the crew member will be entitled to receive his/her daily fee for that Bank Holiday.
(b) If a crew member is required to work on a Bank Holiday, the crew member will be entitled to be paid at 2T during such Bank Holiday, whether the crew member is working on a weekly or longer term basis or is engaged as a daily.

How A VFX Union Can Work For You

Where Union’s work elsewhere (TUC as an example)

What exactly can a VFX Union do for you? It can be easy to get lost when it comes to understanding EXACTLY what a Union will do to change your life for the better… Some come to the conclusion that things are fine how they are, accept the current state of affairs and move on like things have been doing for some years. Some are still curious what the benefits are. We can all agree that things can be much better!

To help demystify what a Union could do for VFX, let’s look at strong Unions that are thriving today and not just BECTU.

The TUC, one of the world’s largest Unions that supports 49 individual member Unions, consisting of 5.5 MILLION working people is a great example. In an article with Paul Nowark, the National Organiser at the time of publication, outlines quite simply why a Union is beneficial for BOTH employee and employers.

Here is a breakdown of his points regarding the TUC from the article:

  • A Union ALWAYS has a say: The first advantage of Union membership is to “make sure changes are negotiated rather than imposed”. So a Union has a say over any massive changes (excessive unpaid overtime for example) the industry might face.
  • +15.6% more: Union members are shown to get paid an average of 15.6% more than non-unionised workers according to official government figures.
  • Professional support: Much like BECTU, Unions offer their members advice, support and representation if they have issues with their employer. No one is ever alone or bullied into situations they shouldn’t ever have to face.
  • Benefits: There are all sorts of other spin-off benefits, too, ranging from financial advice and insurance deals to training opportunities.
  • Learning and Training: The Open University, for example, offers a discount on courses to union members for TUC members.
  • Any drawbacks? There is the cost of a membership. A typical subscription costs £11 a month for one of the big unions. A small price to pay.
  • One for all, All for one! Joining a union, rather like voting, is one of those things that only makes a big difference if lots and lots of other people do it too.
  • Support no matter what: If you decide to join a union and your workplace is not already unionised, for example, you’ll get support if you have a grievance or are in danger of being dismissed, but your union won’t be able to sit down with your employer to negotiate salary and conditions on your behalf. It is only if 50% or more of the workforce are members that the employer is legally obliged to recognise the union, so the answer may be to rally your workmates to the cause.
  • Getting an employers response: “If people join, that gives us the opportunity to go and talk to the employer. The more people are members and active, the more likely we are to get a positive response.” says Nowak

So that’s the TUC, one of the biggest Unions in the world on how their current Unions work.

That’s all very well and good but VFX is different to other industries, right? A Union will end up hurting our employers and they’ll move to other countries where it is cheap! No brainer!

Hold on there…  a Union can be just as beneficial for them as it can be for us and that is what we need them to understand. We aren’t here to turn the clothes on their backs to rags. Far from it! Now, here is a small breakdown found online showing how a VFX Union will make our employers MORE efficient and MORE money by a Unionised workforce.

We are all in it together! How Unions work for Employers too, not just employee’s

Here are a few key points how Unions help employers:

  • Assurance of a stable and well-trained workforce: Unions often have their own programs to train employees in their trades as listed above, relieving employers from the cost of training inexperienced workers. Well-trained employees create better and safer work conditions. In return, employers have fewer days lost because of work-related injuries or illnesses… saving them lots of money!
  • Predictable Costs: Labor contracts give employers the ability to more accurately predict future operation costs for fixed time periods. This makes it much easier for the employer to control costs, develop product operating strategies, plan for expansion and invest in the future of the company and its employees. Employers will have less employee turnover and should have union assurance that more workers will be available if needed. Negotiating a contract with one party, the union, is much easier than having to negotiate a wage and job description with each individual employee, also helping to predict costs.
  • Help employers communicate better with staff: Unions will help employers and employees communicate better when issues arise with the aim to keep both parties happy. With this attitude, staff turnover will reduce and help the team mature into a well established well-oiled company.

There you have it, a snippet of how Unions are working elsewhere and hopefully you can get a good idea of what a VFX Union could blossom in to. We all need to get together and make this awesome industry even more amazing.

Join the VFX Union at BECTU today!

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2009/mar/23/union-membership-benefits

https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/observatories/eurwork/articles/tuc-promotes-business-benefits-of-unions-to-employers

https://bizfluent.com/info-12140728-advantages-disadvantages-unions-employers.html

MPC to offer absolute minimum redundancy payments?

Statutory redundancy. Only statutory redundancy.

Last week, we posted our astonishment at MPC’s general attitude as a company to talent and quality. Readers will remember that they’re largely closing down the Compositing Department that won them the Oscar for Jungle Book a few short months ago – and they’re replacing them with the sort of low wage “trainees” that they can get (thanks to Apprenticeship subsidies) to mind the shop until they need to crew up again for a big job.

It couldn’t stink any more than it does, right?

Continue reading “MPC to offer absolute minimum redundancy payments?”