February 06, 2014 9:59am PT by Carolyn Giardina
BECTU Calls on U.K. Screen Association to Conduct Inquiry Into VFX Work Conditions
The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) is calling on the U.K. Screen Association — which represents U.K.-based visual effects companies -- to conduct a “full, independent inquiry into the work conditions that people in VFX face, especially the problem of long hours."
BECTU recently released a VFX Working Time Charter, petitioning U.K. Screen member companies to maintain employer standards, saying that "for too many, working in the VFX industry can be a draining experience, with long, unpredictable hours and insecure contracts." It calls on association members to support voluntary and paid overtime, statutory rights to daily and weekly rest breaks, the right to representation and related conditions.
On Wednesday, U.K. Screen announced that it had sent a complaint to the Union, calling on it to revise the charter, claiming that it has reworded survey questions found in the document. For example, the letter reads: “ ‘Have you ever been pressured by managers or supervisors to work longer hours for free?’ is reported as ‘81% of people have felt pressured or bullied into working overtime for free on films.’ ”
In response to U.K. Screen's complaint, the BECTU issued the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter: ”U.K. Screen and VFX companies should focus on what matters: the welfare of their staff and giving them the support they need to produce great content. Instead of worrying about BECTU's informal survey, we hope that U.K. Screen will conduct a full, independent inquiry into the work conditions that people in VFX face, especially the problem of long hours.”
The conditions under which visual effects artists work has been a contentious topic in Hollywood and around the world, and has been the subject of many meetings, demonstrations, and other initiatives this past year. A rally is being planned to take place Oscar Sunday from 1-3 p.m. on Hollywood Blvd.; a rally was also held on that day a year ago.