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Coalition forms to support freelancers in their hour of need

Broadcasters and TV bodies form Coalition for Change to meaningfully discuss working practices and wellbeing of freelance community

The working practices of freelancers in the TV production community is set to be discussed by a new pan-industry working group made up of leading broadcasters, associations, and broadcast industry groups.

Starting from September, the new Coalition for Change group will meet quarterly to discuss working conditions for freelancers in the marketplace, and how to improve practices in areas such as employment and recruitment, health and safety, workplace culture, race and diversity, bullying and harassment, training and talent progression, new talent, and mental health and wellbeing.

“We believe every freelancer working in our industry deserves decent working conditions and that we should all advocate a culture that promotes respect, professionalism and investment in people,” read a statement from the group upon its formation yesterday.

“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.”

The announcement comes at a pivotal time for a freelance community that has been hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with no clear end in sight to the current instability and uncertainty in market conditions, this latest collaboration will be seen as a welcome structure of support for a community that many see as the lifeblood of the industry.

“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,” said TV Mindset founder, Adeel Amini.

“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.”

The coalition signatories include the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 (ViacomCBS), Sky, UKTV, STV, 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, and Women in Film and TV.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs added: “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,” she said.

“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.”