Magazine article Screen International

'Unlawful' UK Film and TV Industry Failing Parents, Claims Report

Magazine article Screen International

'Unlawful' UK Film and TV Industry Failing Parents, Claims Report

Article excerpt

Research by Raising Films paints stark picture of deregulation.

There are “unlawful, invisible and unfair” employment practices that discriminate against parents and carers in the UK film and TV industry, according to a new report.

Research carried out by Raising Films found that the UK screen sector suffers from a “precarious and exploitative culture” because off “casualised labour practices, deregulation, deunionisation and persistent ignorance of the wider legislative employment framework within the UK”.

This has resulted in parents and carers not being granted the employment rights available to them and “offered no system for speaking out”.

The report, titled ‘Raising our Game: Next Steps for the UK Film and Television Industry’, is the result of six months research, with evidence gathered from workers, employers, leaders and academics. The BFI supported the research with National Lottery funding.

Failings

Among its findings are that many employers in the sector, large and small, do not understand or follow employment law, with a “long hours’ culture” on production acting as a barrier to parents with children of all ages, and to all carers.

The report cites legislation that is not “understood, adopted or practiced” accross the industry, including the Equality Act of 2010 (which rules that it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone based on ‘protected characteristics’ including gender or pregancy and maternity) and the Employment Rights Act 1996 (that grants employees the statutory right to ask for a change to their contractual terms to work flexibly).

The report also suggests that “bullying; sexual discrimination; sexual harassment; unlawful dismissal due to pregnancy; and failure to gain work due to parenthood or caring responsibilities” are prevalent in the industry, along with a “dependence on a culture of networking and an informal recruitment policy” which is seen as a major barrier for parents and carers.

The research also warned that training, education and support schemes have not been effective in tackling many diversity issues in the film and TV industry.

The report says many schemes are targeted at early entrants, with not enough focused on professionals mid-way through their careers. It also describes some schemes as “exclusionary”, even if they are free, because of hidden costs like childcare, transport and accommodation.

It adds that terms like “under-represention” used in the industry are too vague and allows “actual discrimination” to operate unnoticed. …

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