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.
The Writers’ Guild would like to register deep concern at the exclusion of the arts as qualifying subjects in current proposals for the English Baccalaureate. While recognising the importance of certain subjects – such as English, maths and science - we believe that core recognition of cultural and artistic subjects, both appreciation and practice, is also a vital component of a rounded education.
In addition the UK’s education system needs to recognise that culture, the arts and education do in fact contribute greatly to the economy. The creative industries provide six per cent of Britain’s GDP, £16 billion in exports, and employ at least 2 million people.
In particular, the Guild is concerned about:
- The lack of any prior consultation with teachers, students, parents or creative writers before EBacc was brought in
- The disincentivisation of schools to offer arts subjects, through the retrospective recalculation of the school league tables according to EBacc subjects
- The particular impact of EBacc on the teaching of drama, and the knock-on effect this will have on plays, playwriting and performances in schools.
By Rupert Creed
The Writers Foundation (UK) is a new company and registered charity established by the Writers’ Guild. Its aims are to promote the craft of writing across all disciplines, to advance writer education & training, and to offer welfare support for the writing community.
The Writers Foundation (UK) has secured seed funding via donations from The Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC) and is now open to applications for events and programmes of work from Guild and non-Guild members alike.
Jayne Kirkham reports from the Conservative Party Conference 2012
Three conferences in three weeks and I’ve reached the point where I feel like writing, ‘Tories, Birmingham: went’. Partly because I’m tired but mostly because there really isn’t an awful lot to write about. I arranged my stay around any Culture, Media and Sport speeches and activities both within the main conference agenda and the fringe. They were, however, far and few between and then mainly concerned with the OIympics Legacy with celebratory cheering scheduled as a warm up for the Prime Minister’s speech.
It was all rousing stuff: I cried. However, I think the tears were justified when, having told us that jobs, influence and investment are the real legacy of the Olympics and rolling out two wide-eyed medallists to prove the point, sports minister Hugh Robinson said, ‘The message is clear: please go out and buy your lottery tickets.’ It was a stark reminder that no matter how much culture, media and sport bring communities together, or enrich our understanding of who we are or who we can be; there is no real government support. Lord Coe may highlight the “nourishing and sustaining role of laughter”, but we have to pay for it ourselves through the Lottery. We could spend hours in the pub debating the merits of the Lottery but here, all I’m saying is Mr Robinson neatly summed up how the Conservatives view themselves as the party that helps people who help themselves.
Most over used word of the conference? ‘Strivers.’ I think everyone had been schooled to use it, including the barista in the coffee bar. Although, blessings upon him: he used it with delicious amounts of froth and irony.