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BECTU Fixed Term Contract Survey A summary of our findings
We surveyed members BECTU Fixed Term Contract Survey © 20122 273 responses received in total 225 currently on fixed term contracts 48 used to be and they all had a lot to say ………..
PROFILE OF RESPONDENTS Length of contract Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 20123
4 Q3. Have you had a previous fixed term contract? 81% have had previous FTCs 19% didnt PROFILE OF RESPONDENTS
Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 20125 Q8. Have you been employed each time by the same department doing the same role? 47% YES always same department same role 15% YES always same department different role 21% NO different department same role 17% NO different department different role
PROFILE OF RESPONDENTS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 20126
PROFILE OF RESPONDENTS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 20127 Other includes Outreach, Radio Drama, Talent Management etc
PROFILE OF RESPONDENTS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 20128 Other includes Academy Co-ordinator, Archive Producer and Researcher, Frontline Engineer, PA, Tech Support etc.
BREAKS between Contracts Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 20129 Q3. Dates of the start and finish for each contract 20% had had a short break - of which 9%had had 1 month or less and 11% between 1 and 3 months - interrupting their service.
BREAKS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201210 Q10. Have you ever experienced pressure to take a break between contracts? 44% NO but I know people who have 27% NO 22% YES because I was getting close to 3/2/1 years service 7% for other reasons: Because Drama states that you can only work for 11 months on a fixed term contract before you must take a 3 month break. Every meeting I have ever had with the talent team has involved being told I need to take a break I was offered a contract that ensured I took a 5 week break. It was all very convenient for them as I am very close to 3 years continuous service. …in order to start a new contract which has been a blessing as I can then have a nice long break or work somewhere else if I choose to.
ELIGIBILITY FOR CONTINUOUS CONTRACTS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201211 Q7. Given the BBC agreement as explained, do you think you are eligible and have you asked for, a continuing contract? 32% YES 44% wanted a continuing contract but didnt think they were eligible 16% did not think the question applied 8% did not want a continuing contract
ELIGIBILITY FOR CONTINUOUS CONTRACTS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201212 Of the 32% who answered YES: 8% had 4 years service, had asked and been refused 4% had 3 years service, had asked and been refused 28% had not asked 60% felt their work was continuing and didnt know why they were on FTCs
ELIGIBILITY FOR CONTINUOUS CONTRACTS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201213 Q9. Which statement most reflects your views about the ending of your current contract? 33% I expect my contract to be renewed as another FTC but I think the role is continuing so I think my contract should be too. 15% I expect my contract to be renewed and the reasons for it being another FTC are fair 11% My contract wont be renewed – thats fair because this type of work probably isnt needed afterwards 7% Ive been told they cant make my role permanent because of headcount but my role is needed on a continuing basis 4% They dont want people to acquire much length of service 4% My contract is not being renewed and someone else is being brought in to do my work 4% My contract is not being renewed although the role is still needed.
I have no confidence they will offer me the same length contract again as that would bring me to 4 years continuous service. ELIGIBILITY FOR CONTINUOUS CONTRACTS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201214 Of the 18% who decided to give their own statements, the following trends emerged: Not sure Budgetary constraints and the need to keep the headcount down Relocation and the need to favour existing staff already in new location Jobs need to go to those facing redundancy Series coming to an end Told must have a break H e a d c o u n t h a s b e e n m e n t i o n e d. I h a v e b e e n t o l d i n f o r m a l l y t h a t I w i l l b e g i v e n a b r e a k i n s e r v i c e t o a v o i d r e a c h i n g 4 y e a r s s e r v i c e.
ELIGIBILITY FOR CONTINUOUS CONTRACTS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201215 Q11. If you are eligible under the BBC agreement and have asked for a continuing contract but been refused, what reason were you given for the refusal? If you are eligible under the BBC agreement what stopped you asking for a continuing contract? In replying to both questions, the following trends emerged: 30% Too afraid – didnt want to be seen as pushy and not be offered future contracts I wouldnt press for a continuing contract for risk of being labeled as pushy or difficult, causing trouble. I have been employed for a long time on an off at the BBC and fear if I raised any issues about my contracts I would be blacklisted. 29% Budgetary constraints and the need to keep the headcount down 20% Not aware of BBC agreement and employment rights, didnt feel there was any information readily available I dont understand how things work. I feel that the BBC keep it this way so that they can pick me up and drop me as they please, regardless of how well I do my job.
ELIGIBILITY FOR CONTINUOUS CONTRACTS Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201216 Q11. If you are eligible under the BBC agreement and have asked for a continuing contract but been refused, what reason were you given for the refusal? If you are eligible under the BBC agreement what stopped you asking for a continuing contract? In replying to both questions, the following trends emerged:contd…. 11% Think its futile as nothing will be done 10% Told must have a break I was forced to take a break. My contract ended because there was a staff person on downtime that they moved into my position in addition to the fact that I was coming up to 3 years service – there would have easily been another years work but they wanted to keep the headcount down. The general idea is that anyone who challenges this is a trouble-maker and possibly wont be employed again. General approach from BBC HR and Line Managers that it is fair and correct that I should take a break. That there wasnt anything dodgy about them enforcing a break. General idea amongst talent managers that this is a BBC policy.
OTHER ISSUES OF CONCERN Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201217 31% replied in great detail and the following areas of concern emerged: 46% Hours and bad planning of budgets resulting in excessive hours 35% Lack of career progression/acting up/pay 14% Moving/extra travel expenses/hot-desking 5% Lack of communication/culture of secrecy/levels of cleanliness/induction/lack of UPA/ageism
Some of what our members said… (and this is only some!) Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201218 46% Hours and bad planning of budgets resulting in excessive hours Length of working day. Without the dedication of staff on projects, they would not be possible. I often work 9.30am to 7pm. Budgets being cut and badly planned which puts staff in danger. Working weekends for sustained periods(foreign filming trips) and not getting paid for them back upon returning to the UK. Length of working day is a definite issue. 'Buy out' contracts are a particular issue. Staff do not get overtime no matter what hours they work, and no matter how many days they do on location. Example: 7 week shoots working every day - sometimes a small amount of 'time off in lieu' is offered, often this will be 2-3 days, despite having worked 7 weekends = 14 days unpaid. Maximum time off in lieu ever offered is 1 day in every 2.
Some of what our members said Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201219 46% Hours and bad planning of budgets resulting in excessive hours I regularly work long hours during the week, always over the official 35 hours I'm paid for. During filming/shoot days I always work longer than the recommended time, last week I worked an 18 hour day at one point. So far I have had to cancel 2 holidays booked in this year and have ended up regularly working weekends and bank holidays, and as yet have been unable to claim back any time in lieu. As budgets fall, time pressures and staffing numbers reduce, so as a fixed term contracter the amount of work to do is so high, there is very little time to take breaks, and there is pressure to take them even when this often means working overtime to make it up. I have been employed by the BBC since February 2009, with only 5 working days break over the recent Christmas period. That work has been as a researcher, and now an Assistant Producer in the same department on both fixed term and casual contract.
Some of what our members said Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201220 46% Hours and bad planning of budgets resulting in excessive hours I think that the amount that we are asked to do especially on shoots is becoming increasingly dangerous due to long working hours and then travelling to another location afterwards. I don't agree with having to waive my EU rights to maximum working hours. The BBC does not seem to want to invest in hiring sufficient number of staff required to carry out the major productions it wishes to produce. As a result unacceptable pressure is being placed upon those working on the production to achieve the aims of the production. This inevitably results in the standard of work being compromised and huge pressure being placed on ones personal life, as works consumes ones life. It also means a lot of work is being completed retrospectively and it is not a cost efficient way of working.
Some of what our members said Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201221 46% Hours and bad planning of budgets resulting in excessive hours I've been working at the BBC on and off for the past 10 years. In that time production staff (I'm a self-shooting AP/director) have taken on more and more share of production and technical duties, while budgets and schedules have shrunk. I work 12 hour days routinely, and 15-18 hour days when filming.
Some of what our members said Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201222 35% Lack of career progression/acting up/pay I do far more than my job description. Great for gaining the necessary experience but not when it becomes your daily routine. Not offered internal pay rises or promotions – told to leave and return...the BBC tend to keep people at the same level and we are actively encouraged to leave the BBC to move up and then come back. I have worked 2.5 peoples jobs in the last 6 months, for which I will not get paid any more. The move to Salford has damaged my life. I am expected to work like a slave for no reward and to be grateful for doing it.
Some of what our members said Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201223 35% Lack of career progression/acting up/pay As a junior researcher I am doing the role of my colleagues who are researchers but the pay difference is huge. I earn £5k less than one researcher and £7k less than another. It's incredibly demoralising. Lack of stability. It seems that no matter how much you prove yourself, there will not be the guarantee of a job at the end of it as there used to be. One might say that you are constantly being interviewed.
Some of what our members said Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201224 35% Lack of career progression/acting up/pay Lack of serious professional development for Production Management stream. PMA Grade 3, PC grade 5, PM Grade 8 there is no effective career path in this stream and I actually think it's a gender issue as the Management community is 99% female. I am constantly being contacted about work as a researcher when I have been a credited assistant producer for years. They want everyone to act up to save money. Nowhere near enough investment in people. I have become less interested in working for the BBC in the past year or so, don't feel like the quality of the work justifies the low pay and lack of recognition of my role.
Any Questions? Fixed Term Contract Survey © BECTU 201225
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