Olivia Hetreed is the new President of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, following a vote at the Guild's AGM
Olivia, best known for scripting the hugely successful film Girl With A Pearl Earring, has served for several years as Chair of the Guild's Film Committee and a member of our Executive Council. Olivia started her career as a documentary, drama and film editor and moved into writing with a series of family films for ITV including The Treasure Seekers and The Canterville Ghost. Other credits include the award-winning Man of Law’s Tale for the BBC and the feature film Wuthering Heights, released in 2011. She is currently in development with Philip and Liz, the love story of the young Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth. Olivia’s unopposed election as President was announced at today’s Guild Annual General Meeting. She takes over from the eminent playwright David Edgar, who has been our distinguished President for the past six years.
Mary Macarthur was an active trade unionist who fought for ‘tired working women’ who had no hope of respite or of a holiday.
The Mary Macarthur Holiday Trust aims to provide help to those women in need of a break by reason of age; poverty; infirmity; disablement; social or economic circumstances.
The Trust provides financial help towards the cost of a holiday and tries to help as many women as possible each year. Therefore the maximum available for any holiday is normally £350.00, although this may be increased very slightly in exceptional circumstances.
If you know someone who might be eligible for help, please visit the Mary Macarthur Holiday Trust website
Writers' Guild AGM will be on Friday 14 June
This is the time of year for Writers’ Guild members to think about motions to change the policies or rules of the union, or to put themselves forward as officers or members of the Executive Council.
There is a record number of EC vacancies to be filled this summer, both for national/regional seats and craft sector representatives, so we are hoping to see plenty of new blood coming forward. Please consider seriously whether you could contribute to the Guild in this way.
Details of the vacancies, application forms and instructions for proposing motions can be downloaded below. If you would prefer to have paper copies please contact the Guild office.
The closing date for the receipt of Officer and EC nominations is Thursday 9 May 2013 and the closing date for the receipt of AGM motions is Tuesday 14 May 2013.
The Annual General Meeting of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain will take place in London on Friday 14 June 2013. The full details are in the Notice of Meeting and Preliminary Agenda, which can also be downloaded from our website. The Final Agenda, Annual Report and Accounts will be made available shortly before the AGM, in accordance with the rules of the Guild.
The Writers' Guild has negotiated increases in the minimum fees paid to writers under our collective agreements with BBC TV and radio.
Minimum fees for TV writers have been increased by 1%, in line with the most recent increase in BBC staff salaries. Taking effect from 1 January 2013, this brings the key rate for original teleplays to £10,800 per hour and for series/serials to£9,840.
For radio writers there is also an increase of 1%, effective from 24th January 2013, and in addition the public service fee has also been increased by 2.5% from 10% to 12.5% for all contracts. For writers of archive material repeated on Radio 4 Extra, our agreement has been extended for a further five years, with the key rate for original drama increased to £3.24 per minute and these fees will be increased annually in line with RPI, subject to a cap of 3%.
Full details of the new rates can be downloaded from the Rates and Agreements section. These agreements have been reached in co-operation with the Guild's negotiating partners the Personal Managers' Association and (for radio only) the Society of Authors.
A briefing from the Writers' Guild written for the Performers' Alliance Parliamentary lobby earlier this week.
The creative professions are regarded by some as passions that we are privileged to follow. But those who produce and exploit our work know that acting, music, and writing are crafts, without which they would have no product.
Too often writers, the most invisible participants, are expected to work for not just low pay, but no pay. The Writers’ Guild wants to highlight that this affects not only the young, starting out in their careers, but established writers in their 40s and 50s. Would MPs, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and police officers work for free because they believe passionately in their job? No? Then Let’s Get Paid!
What is happening?
The Writers’ Guild negotiates collective minimum agreements with theatre producers, television and radio broadcasters and independent production companies. However, these only cover writers under contract, who have received a formal commission. In recent years, we have seen a growing trend towards writers being asked to contribute substantial amounts of unpaid work – detailed pitches, treatments, storylines, sketches, research material, even full-length scripts – merely to compete for the chance of a commission or place on an exclusive “training” scheme for an established TV programme.
Writers expect to undertake speculative work on their own projects, which they may sell on the open market. But work done to the brief of others, which can involve months of thought and labour, is a job, which should be justly remunerated.