Why Did We Join Bectu?
Some of our committee members wrote these statements to explain why they decided to join. We hope that their experiences will inspire you to join us too.
Molly Rowe Costume Designer
"Why Join The Union?
I have always been part of a Union, ever since I started to work.
My Grandfather always instilled in me why it was so important, as he was involved in the creating of Air Unity when he worked for BOAC. His first act, and his primary reason for creating this Union, was to ensure that female Cabin Crew were paid the same as male. That is a legacy I wish to continue, as I inherited this idea of fairness and equality, as well as the understanding of strength in numbers,
My first understanding of a Union, from a very young age, was that is a group of people with the same ideas about equality, better working conditions and fair pay, and that by joining together these people then have a strength to ask questions, and in turn this strength gets answers.
It is the amount of people together, with a voice, that gives a Union their voice. If everyone is in the Union, their voice can't be ignored. It gives the power for negotiation back to the workers. Employers have to listen if all their employees are asking the same questions.
In the Film and TV industry it is widely discussed that other departments have very strong Unions and we don't. It is understood that for these departments, their fairer working hours and pay, are "just how it is" for them. That is simply because more people are members of these branches - in some circumstances every single member of those departments is a member of their Union - so of course they have a louder voice and that is why they have the strength to be taken seriously.
Having the Union behind you takes away the fear that you might not get a job if you are seen as difficult, or demanding - something I have been accused of in the past when I have been negotiating working hours for my crew. When you are part of a Union, you are not alone, you have back up. The more strength we have, the more voices we have, the less fear we will have. We will not be seen as demanding, it will become "how it is" for us too.
We all know how "unfair" our working day expectations can be and we need to join together to make a change. The culture of talking and moaning about it ultimately makes no difference, we need to show Productions that we all feel the same and we want to be taken seriously. We need to help each other, and join together to start getting heard.
We need more unity, we need a louder voice."
Yasemin Kascioglu assistant costume designer
"I joined BECTU a few years ago when I had a grievance at work. It was a period TV drama where our overtime was essential to shoot the day, but (as normal) rates and terms were not addressed in our deal memo and (as normal) everything was rather let minute! We ended up working the 3-4 hours extra a day for free as the show could not afford to pay....whilst they hired helicopters to shoot 2nd unit shots....
Tom Bell, our union official at the time, took hours of his time to listen to my case, look through my contract and arrange a meeting with the producer. We had a constructive discussion and I was paid. Years later, and I have worked with the producers again - this time it all went very smoothly!
It's been really inspiring being a member of BECTU these past years. In that time (and much more time before!), the PACT film agreement has reached a crucial stage, and a TV agreement has been discussed and formed. I feel more informed and confident in what I will agree to work for, and I can pass that information on to others.
The BECTU committee is made up of men and women with years of experience in the industry that are committed to improving the pay and conditions of costume departments everywhere, no matter what grade you are. Quite simply, they have your back. They are there at the end of an email/tweet/Facebook post or Instagram if you have any questions. The direct debit funds our union, so that if you're in a sticky situation, someone is there to help and support you - it's such a small price to pay!
Thanks and I hope to meet you at the next meeting! #themorethemerrier #strengthinaunion"