EXCLUSIVE: Union and producers association meeting this month to thrash out long-gestating ‘blue book’.

UK union BECTU and producers association PACT will meet at least four times in January and February in an attempt to push through long-gestating film employment reform.

The meetings will be hosted by dispute mediator ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).

The parties have been trying to agree the terms of a revised industry ‘blue book’ which will set out clearer guidelines around crew working hours, overtime, turnaround, break time and compensation.

The employment agreement will cover all feature films shot in the UK, from micro-budget productions through to inward investment tent-poles.

Despite discussions beginning almost two years ago, officials Screen spoke to from both sides expressed optimism that a resolution could be reached early this year.

PACT chief John McVay described the potential employment agreement to Screen as “the first in a very long time”:

“If we can arrive at a collective agreement, we will have the clearest terms, conditions and pay rates for film in a very long time.”

One BECTU official Screen spoke to described the employment reform as potentially “historic”.

The biggest sticking points during discussions last year included pay and the parameters of ‘unsocial hours’.

Proposals are understood to be complicated and there remain concerns among the two parties about the makeup of the final document.

Among concerns from PACT are that that the union does not fully understand its proposals on pay, while BECTU claims that those proposed measures would see a pay cut for some crew.

Screen first reported on the long-in-the-works discussions in summer 2012.

The industry’s first ‘blue book’, drawn up more than ten years ago, has been widely criticized for its complexity and has never gained traction.

BECTU officials are hopeful that the revised blue book will be available as an app later this year.

UK media and entertainment trade union BECTU has a membership of around 26,500.

The union yesterday [Jan 13] announced a voluntary recognition agreement with Curzon Cinemas, which will see the union negotiate and consult on behalf of the 150 employees of the exhibition chain.