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Freelance working practices to be discussed by TV Coalition for Change

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Major broadcasters and TV industry bodies have signed up to take part in historic discussions about how to improve freelance working practices.
 
All the public service broadcasters including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV, as well as Sky and UKTV, have committed to taking part in the quarterly discussions.

Arts and entertainment union Bectu and producers’ trade association Pact will also be at the meetings which have been pulled together by Adeel Amini from the TV Mindset, an organisation which aims to support the mental health of TV freelancers.
 
Items on the agenda for discussion include, but are not limited to: 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.
 
Other groups signed up to attend the discussions include ScreenSkills, the Film and TV Charity and a number of pressure groups.
 
The first meeting will take place at the end of September or early October and will continue every quarter until December 2021.
 
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.”
 
Founder of the TV Mindset Adeel Amini 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. Acknowledging these issues and joining this coalition is an important first step; this agreement is the first of its kind and getting it on the table has been incredibly difficult work, but I am confident that it can result in a happier, healthier, and fairer future for everyone in our industry."
 
BBC Director of Talent and Resourcing Catherine Hearn said: “It’s important for broadcasters, indies and key stakeholders to come together to form an industry-wide response to support freelancers who are the lifeblood of our industry. We appreciate the past months have been incredibly tough for freelancers. We look forward to working cross-industry to find ways to be part of that change.”
 
C4 head of factual Danny Horan said: “Our industry not just relies, but thrives on the creative spirit and minds of freelancers. We are nothing without them and whilst there is some extraordinary work - training, recruitment, workplace culture - happening in many quarters of the industry, we also recognise that’s not the reality for all. Adeel and the TV Mindset have done a fantastic job bringing the whole industry together and we are proud to be part of this coalition.”
 
Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “Adeel has done a fantastic job pushing for the industry’s key organisations to come together at such a crucial time. The pandemic has shown no mercy and its effect has laid bare the challenges that freelancers have been dealing with for too long. 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. Bectu is committed to creating a framework for meaningful change and I would urge anyone working in TV to seriously consider joining to ensure your voice is heard.”
 
Share My Telly Job founder Louise Patel said: “The Coalition for Change is the first, giant step in uniting a fractious industry for the benefit of all people working within it. As we navigate through an exceptionally challenging period of production, a joint force protecting the rights of freelancers is the only way we can achieve a fair and sustainable work life balance. Adeel’s efforts to co-ordinate the Coalition have been monumental and couldn’t come a moment too soon.  Share My Telly Job are proud to be part of a cohesive and collaborative movement which will no doubt be the beginning of the fundamental change we desperately need for those working in the TV industry.” 
 
Caroline O’Neill from Disabled People in TV said: “As the single most under-represented group in the workforce, Disabled People in TV support any genuine initiative for improved conditions for freelancers in TV.”
 
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.”
 
 
The full list of organisations that have signed up are:
BBC
ITV
STV
Channel 4
Channel 5 (ViacomCBS)
Sky
UKTV
Bectu
Pact
Film and TV Charity
ScreenSkills
The TV Collective
Share My Telly Job
Directors UK
Disabled People in TV
Viva La PD
The Unit List
Women in Film and TV