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BBC Rate Change


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#1 benedictspence

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 05:10 PM

Hi All,

This post is more aimed at UK crew and freelancers but I thought it might be useful to post it up here at the Steadicam forum anyway.

I'm sure most of you have heard this news but for those of you which haven't- please read on... This isn't a spook story or a forwarded email, this is new BBC Policy which could affect us all if we don't fight it.

The BBC are attempting to cut freelancers rates. This is a general cut across all freelancers but the crew side in particular. The rates changes have already begun to be implemented in Factual and Learning and will spead across the rest of the BBC soon.

The BBC have decided to start booking Lighting Camera operators on a 12hr day at £250 as an UPPER limit on the rate; ie they'll be trying to work this DOWN. Also this 12hr day does not included base to base, it is based on arrival at location.

Facilities companies have been asked to use an 'e-bay' style internet portal, undercutting each other on a live online auction.

So from £250 as a standard rate for a 10hr day, base to base, we are now looking at £250 MAXIMUM for a 12hr not including the time it takes to get to location from picking up the camera kit.

I for one find this an almost impossible-to-accomodate change in policy. I work very hard to make a living; the costs involved in working as crew are huge, with insurance, taxes, kit and cost of living all taking a huge chunk out of my earnings.

If the BBC manages to push these changes through our rate will go into freefall, not only at the BBC but also at the indie production companies who will follow suit.

Sound recordists rates have also been slahsed to £250 for a 12hr with full sound kit. I don't know specifics of Steadicam but I'm sure they will suffer as well.

I have recieved a letter from David Donovan from BECTU about what the union (for what it's worth!) is planning on doing about this- if you want to know more please email him and Martin Spence, Assistant General Secretary of BECTU (ddonovan@bectu.org.uk and mspence@bectu.org.uk) and ask how you can help.

This is a serious moment for UK crews. We are already overworked and poorly treated on too many shoots here in the UK... We need to stick togther to make sure production companies don't walk all over us in the future and preserve the professionalism of our trade.

If there is one thing that TV crews are good at it's disagreeing with production. I know dozens of crew members, as I'm sure you all do too, and I know no one who thinks this rate change is anything other than impossible.

If you get a call from the BBC asking you to work dangerously long hours for little money- just say "NO".

Sincerely,

Benedict Spence

(forgive the typos- I've had a long day!)
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#2 Matt Burton

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 07:32 PM

That's shocking but predictable news.
The beeb are obviously struggling and trying to bring everybody else down with them.
Saying that I know quite a few sky crews that have had rates slashed recently.
All this at a time when i'm getting a bigger rig for broadcast work doesn't sound to good.
Commercials it is then :)
Aaaaargh
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#3 Jason Torbitt

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 09:31 PM

I have been reading much about this, both in literature from BECTU and opinions of GTC members... I will be intrigued to see how this develops.

Shocking and worrying at the same time.
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#4 Afton Grant

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 12:28 AM

This may be a very novice question, but I'm curious to know how a corporation has such control over the rates of a freelancer? I realize it is a give and take situation - the productions need crew and the crew needs work. However, I would imagine it is similar to discussions we've had here about working for reduced rates. If nobody is willing to do it, the rates won't go down, right? Simple economics? I'll admit ignorance regarding the way things work in the UK. Are there factors there that are unique? Whatever the case may be, even if it does only affect ops in the UK, it still makes me a wee bit uneasy.

Best to all,
Afton
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#5 Erwin Landau

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 02:07 AM

Afton,

It's Simple: Supply and Demand.

It doesn't matter where on the globe, it's the same...

There is more Supply, in our case operators, then Demand, Shows/Productions. The Producers have the upper hand, and we are cutting our own throat by accepting there rates and under cutting each other.

Operators are looking for an edge to get hired... but the moment you accept $33.-/hour and a Steadicam rental of $750.- a week and throw in the AR for free... as happened in April here in the US... They can and will ask for anything and guess again... they will get it or somebody that will do it.

And the moment we decide to stand together and not accept any crap, the Producers are screaming Strike and price fixing.

Loose... Loose... situation.

Any Ideas? I'll take'em.

Good Luck,


Erwin"Nickel and Dime"Landau
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#6 Guido Lux

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 06:43 AM

Erwin!

Who made a price like this and gave them the AR for free?!?!?Names,please!I'm over here in germany and if I find out about something like this I will personally have a talk with this guy....!
There are always some black sheep out there but sometimes the same black sheep end on the table for dinner...! We do have to stand together...at least try...!


Guido "I'd rather stay home than work for half rate" Lux
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#7 chris fawcett

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 08:03 AM

Let's stick together on this rate thing, people. As Ben Franklin said, 'We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.'

Just say no!
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#8 Ben Howells

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 10:32 AM

Whats that! the BBC are trying to squeeze the rate's down, the Beeb have always offered crap rates anyway in my experience! Benedict is right though the biggest worry is everybody else trying to follow suit if the BBC get away with it.
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#9 Daniel Stilling DFF

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 01:31 PM

Not to hijack the post, but,
I do not know who the $ 33 operator was, and I didn't know that he was throwing the AR for free.
I got offered that job, and I refused the rate and the rental rate.
Out in NM I was working on the 2nd season of a TV series. I'm not getting invited back for the 3rd season, because another op gives his gear for 1000 less a week than me and only gets a $1 bump to do Steadicam.

This is really sad but I guess most of the time they get what they pay for as well.

Dan
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#10 Eric Young

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 12:50 PM

This may be a very novice question, but I'm curious to know how a corporation has such control over the rates of a freelancer? I realize it is a give and take situation - the productions need crew and the crew needs work. However, I would imagine it is similar to discussions we've had here about working for reduced rates. If nobody is willing to do it, the rates won't go down, right? Simple economics? I'll admit ignorance regarding the way things work in the UK. Are there factors there that are unique? Whatever the case may be, even if it does only affect ops in the UK, it still makes me a wee bit uneasy.

Best to all,
Afton

The BBC is probably the biggest single employer in the UK media industry - as such it sets a benchmark which other companies will at least reference when they set their own rates. There isn't so much work around that everybody can just keep saying no to the BBC, except perhaps in the short term.

The unions were very much weakened during the Thatcher years, and governments since then have not given back any power to the unions - which is both bad and good in some ways. However, the BBC does still recognise unions in their pay negotiations, so fingers crossed that we can throw these proposals out the window!

Also, as a publicly owned bureacracy, once a new rate is set it applies across the board (unless you really are exceptional, and the production absolutely demands you and no other) and it's well nigh impossible to change it!
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#11 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 01:02 PM

This is just criminal. The last time I checked London was not getting any cheaper to live in!
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#12 Eric Young

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 09:20 AM

This is just criminal. The last time I checked London was not getting any cheaper to live in!


Yep. Everything is expensive in London, and forget about buying a house cheaply!
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