BECTU, the UK media and entertainment trade union, has launched a “comprehensive set of standards” for the live events industry to fight for better working conditions for its members in the sector.
The campaign comes as more than three quarters (76 per cent) of BECTU members in the live events sector felt pay in the sector needed to be improved by setting minimum rates. A further two thirds (69 per cent) of respondents named long hours as their biggest concern in their roles, followed by almost half (46 per cent) reporting lack of crew welfare facilities and one in three (30 per cent) expressing concern over health and safety.
According to BECTU, workers – often freelancers – who undertake contracts at entertainment events, festivals and conferences as lighting technicians, sound engineers and live events crew have reported widespread mistreatment including long hours, no breaks, bullying and harassment.
BECTU plans to directly address this in its set of standards for the industry, which also covers health and safety, diversity inclusion and provision of appropriate facilities based on the Equality Act’s protected characteristics. The union is calling for a change in industry culture that “can leave so many workers feeling isolated and unable to feel empowered to tackle issues for fear of losing work”.
Naomi Taylor, lead official on the Set the Standard campaign at BECTU, commented: “Increasing pressure on this workforce, who put in long hour shifts with sometimes little reward, means it’s time to act and say enough is enough. Freelance life can be tough and often leaves workers too worried about their next pay-check to consider organising with colleagues to demand better.
“That’s why we want employers to step up and do the right thing by abiding by these standards to ensure a sustainable industry that does the right thing by its workers who work tirelessly to get big shows on the road.”
More information on the campaign can be found here.