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Bectu meets broadcasters over freelance crisis

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Almost half of the freelancers in British television are currently out of work, according to a survey from Bectu.

The union has now started talks with UK public service broadcasters to discuss an industry-led strategy to address the issue.

“Freelancers are critical to the success of the UK’s world-class film and TV production sector and we are committed to working with all relevant stakeholders, including broadcasters, to find and implement solutions,” said Head of Bectu, Philippa Childs.

She added that this week’s meetings were a “positive first step” with more arranged for the coming weeks to “address both the current crisis and drive long-term change in the sector.”

As previously reported on Prolific North, Bectu has long warned of the “feast or famine” of the sector. This was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, when production stopped and freelancers turned to other industries, only for a filming boom to start when restrictions were lifted leading to major staff and skills shortages.

With that “feast” now over, plus inflation, a cost-of-living crisis and productions being cancelled, the “famine” has hit.

According to the Bectu survey of 2000 freelancers, 45% were out of work and 75% said they were struggling to make ends meet.

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