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BECTU Launch New Pay Guidance for Professionals on UK Touring Productions

The guidance outlines recommended professional rates agreed in consultation with Bectu’s theatre touring branch

BECTU Launch New Pay Guidance for Professionals on UK Touring Productions

Bectu, the union for the creative industries, has launched new pay guidance for professionals working on UK touring theatre productions.

The guidance outlines recommended professional rates agreed in consultation with Bectu's theatre touring branch. The rates apply to individuals working in all posts and grades (other than those recognised by Equity or the Musicians' Union), covering roles in lighting, sound, wardrobe, wigs, props, puppetry, chaperones, automation, and stage.

The rates guidance follows Bectu's launch of its 'Guide to good practice on touring productions' in October 2022, which sets out good practice for producers who tour theatre productions to venues across the UK.

Many Bectu members working in theatre have their minimum rates determined by Bectu's collective bargaining agreements with the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre (UKT), which covers most commercial theatres outside London.

However, staff employed on touring productions have been increasingly employed on buyout contracts, where additional payments such as overtime, Sunday working, and in costume are effectively 'bought out' and included in the rate offered. While some of these contracts are underpinned by the collective agreements, others are often vague and a mix of Bectu agreements and those of other entertainment unions.

In the absence of agreed minimum rates with UKT or other employers, the new guidance will give Bectu members confidence and clarity when negotiating their rates for touring productions.

While employers are not obliged to pay the recommended rates, Bectu will be encouraging members to negotiate rates in line with the professional minimum recommended rates.

The recommended rates do not apply to work done in the Commercial West End theatre sector.

Bectu Assistant National Secretary Helen Ryan said: "It's no secret that low pay is one of the core issues driving the chronic skills shortage in the UK theatre sector. We cannot expect people to remain for 'the love of the job' when there are better pay and conditions elsewhere.

"Our members working in touring theatre are highly skilled professionals and it is right that they are compensated fairly for their time and talents. We encourage members to familiarise themselves with this guide and use it when negotiating their rates of pay."

Bectu's Theatre Touring Branch representative Christian Clark said: "After the launch of our good practice guide late last year, we're really proud to now supplement this with our recommended rates guidance, giving our members clear advice on what sort of pay they should be asking for.

"We are continually seeking to help implement good practice and consistency across the industry. These rates are another important step forward in achieving a more equitable working environment for touring professionals.

"We've put a lot of time and energy into consulting on this new guidance, so members can be confident that our recommended rates are accurate and reflect the reality of what sort of pay other members are currently receiving for their work."

The new guidance is available here.

Image Credit: Bectu



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