We’re very aware that members will have lost significant amounts of work over the last week or so due to the Coronavirus situation, and want to know what the union is doing on their behalf. We’re sharing this update from Paul Evans, the BECTU official who looks after the London Production Division, of which Camera Branch is the biggest branch:
“We’re lobbying on a number of fronts:
1) To make sure that people who aren’t on PAYE can access the same package that people who are on PAYE are able to get (so this means calling for people to be able to treat what they have drawn down either as salary or dividends from their Personal Service Company as an indication of the income that they have received.
2) To also put the question of kit-hire on the agenda – the argument that people who are freelancers are not only losing *income* – they’re also losing revenue of capital items that they would expect to resell to employers (i.e. kit, vehicles, software, insurances as well as other standing expenditure that they can’t just suspend during this crisis.
3) The ‘(re)entry level’ problem – for plenty of reasons, members may not have earned money last year (they are entering the industry / were taking career breaks as a result of childcare or illness etc
Every day, the focus of our campaigning is changing, but we have a professional team that includes a Parliamentary Officer with good connections among MPs of all parties, a press team and a good research team. We’re also providing regular update via the website and twitter – you may have seen today’s news story?”
In addition branch reps are pushing hard to make sure BECTU also demands help for those members who organise their work lives as freelancers but are taxed as PAYE employees. Lots of PAYE crew had quiet winters & weren’t working on 1st March, and had good expectations of work starting soon which has now gone away. Some of these crew members will be amongst the lowest-paid grades. We don’t think it’s fair that they should miss out on any help the self-employed might get, and they must not be allowed to fall through the cracks.
Our Coronavirus Advice page is regularly updated and we’re also putting out news though the branch Twitter & Instagram pages – if you use those platforms please help by re-tweeting & sharing to your Stories.
We’re also urging you to write to your MP asking for a better deal for freelancers – use this link, it’s super-easy & takes 3 minutes: https://bectu.org.uk/self-employed-workers-need-protection-too-email-your-mp-now/
Thanks for reading – stay safe & keep in touch. Your committee & officials are here to help.