Rates and terms on ‘Workshop Hours’

Bectu’s SFX Branch ratecard [pdf] is worth a close look for anyone who is interested in the issue of ‘Workshop Hours’.

A bit of backstory first.

In Bectu’s view, our agreements should have at least two different time-matrixes:

  • one for shooting crew – possibly including the prep-and-wrap provisions.
  • one for people who do jobs that are not contingent upon the shooting schedule – jobs that are generally done in workshops, remote facilities or offices – ‘Workshop Hours’ as we call it.

So SFX, VFX, post-production, costume workshop, props etc (I’ve probably missed a few obvious ones there – forgive me!) would be included.

In our view, there’s no reason why they should work longer than any sensible employer asks people to work. In 1926, Henry Ford (not a bleeding heart left-winger by any means) realised that it was counterproductive to ask people to work for more than eight hours a day. (There’s more on the productivity arguments for shorter working days over on Bectu’s Eyes Half Shut pages).

This brings us back to the SFX Branch ratecard [pdf].

You will notice that it has rates for an 11 hour ‘Standard Working Day’ (SWD) – 11 hours work + one unpaid hour for lunch – as well as the Continuous Working Day (CWD) which lasts ten hours. Both days are paid at the same day rate.

Then, notice that their ratecard also has ‘Workshop Days’. Their argument is that working in a workshop involves more intensive work, so a ‘Workshop Day’ which involves 10 hrs + one unpaid hour for lunch, and it should be charged at the same rate as an 11 hour SWD.

This is inching in the right direction for anyone who wants to gradually nudge the industry towards a manageable working day.

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