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Bectu: 75 per cent of UK freelancers currently out of work

Nearly a quarter of the survey's 4,000 respondents said they do not see themselves working in the industry in the next five years

A survey from union Bectu has found nearly 80 per cent of its members have been impacted by the on-going Hollywood strikes.

It found three-quarters of survey respondents are currently not working, 9 in 10 are worried about their financial security, and 6 in 10 are struggling with their mental health as a result of loss of work and/or financial worries.

Worryingly, nearly a quarter of the survey’s 4,000 respondents said they do not see themselves working in the industry in the next five years.

“I don’t see myself continuing to work in this industry,” said one respondent. “Situations like this cause so much stress financially on top of the stress the industry can already have while you’re working. It’s so volatile and you do need tough skin and a plan. I know a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck. The industry was flooded with more work and more workers after lockdown and now there’s no work.”

Commenting on the survey results, head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “Much of the rhetoric surrounding the US dispute is about the actors, but as our survey shows the impact on crew and other film and TV workers is severe and cannot be underestimated.

“The number of freelancers questioning their future in the industry should sound alarm bells,” added Childs. “For too long we have seen a pattern of engaging crew where they are picked up and dropped again with little notice, protection or reassurances about future employment. They are often the first to suffer and the hardest hit when production is impacted.

“This is a fight with many of the same employers who frequently undervalue crew in the UK, and therefore our solidarity with US actors and writers is important for raising standards domestically and globally. However, there is no getting around the very real and devastating impact on UK workers.”