Thursday, February 06, 2014

British Trade Association is Shocked ... SHOCKED ...

... that uncomped overtime could be going on here.

U.K. Screen Association Cries Foul Over Visual Effects Industry Petition

The trade association for U.K.-based VFX companies is asking BECTU to revise its VFX Working Time Charter.

The U.K. Screen Association -- which represents UK-based visual effects companies -- issued a letter of complaint to the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) in response to survey data published as part of its VFX Working Time Charter. It is asking the Union to withdraw and correct the Charter

The Charter petitions U.K. Screen member companies to maintain employers standards, saying that "for too many, working in the VFX industry can be a draining experience, with long, unpredictable hours and insecure contracts." It calls on association members to support voluntary and paid overtime, statutory rights to daily and weekly rest breaks, the right to representation and related conditions.

U.K. Screen's complaints are centered around what it claims is “rewording of survey questions in the reported output and the Union's inability to identify the source of respondents.” ...

(Or maybe they're just ticked off that someone is bringing the issue up.) ...

The reality of the situations? Pressure for employees to turn out work "faster, better, cheaper" is widespread. I encountered it in various industry nooks and crannies when I was a young, wet-behind-the-ears business representative. I run across the same thing now. A few examples:

* DreamWorks Animation had a small unit of draw-by-hand animators with an overly ambitious production manager who didn't like paying o.t. (The company corrected the problem when I brought it to management's attention.)

* Cartoon Network's Time Squad had supervisors who weren't interested in paying overtime. (They came from Rough Draft and weren't used to the concept.)

* Sony Adelaide, when it was up and running, had a semi-official policy of not paying overtime. The company designated almost everyone as "on call" employees. (Yours truly filed a grievance to get it stopped.)

* At different times during my tenure, units at Disney Feature, Disney TVA and Warner Bros. Animation have declined to pay overtime to employees who worked more than eight hours in a workday. ...

Unpaid o.t. has lifted its ugly head almost every year I've been in this job. I've filed grievances against it, held meetings, met with crews over lunch to devise strategies. Sometimes it's less a problem, other times it's more. But the issue is always out there. So what are the odds the same problem(s) go on in the United Kingdom?



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