Ellie Peers is the new General Secretary of WGGB. The appointment takes effect immediately.
Peers has been Acting General Secretary of WGGB since May 2016 when previous General Secretary Bernie Corbett stepped down after 15 years.
Prior to that she was Assistant General Secretary of WGGB for three years. She has previously spent 15 years working in the trade union movement, including for UNISON and Unite, and also spent a decade working in the film and TV industries.
Her achievements at WGGB include:
• Negotiating a major new agreement with the BBC (Script Agreement for Television and Online), which includes BBC Studios for the first time and boosts screenwriters’ rights, particularly animation and children’s TV writers.
• Negotiating regular pay rises for writers working in film, TV, radio and theatre.
• Challenging the broadcasters on equality and diversity, joining sister unions BECTU and NUJ in boycotting Project Diamond until the broadcasters agree to release programme-level data.
Her appointment means that all senior posts at WGGB are now held by women – she joins Chair Gail Renard and President Olivia Hetreed, at a time when the union is commissioning a major gender equality survey covering film and TV, which will form the basis of a campaign tackling under-representation of women writers in these sectors.
WGGB’s research has shown that women write 14.6% of UK films and 32% of prime-time and continuing drama series, as well as 31% of new stage plays.
Commenting on her appointment, Ellie Peers said: “I am delighted to be taking up this role at such a crucial time for writers – to ensure their voices are heard during the Brexit negotiations, and as the digital landscape continues to change at such a rapid pace.
“The union owes a huge debt to my predecessor Bernie Corbett who was adept at staying one step ahead of the game in ensuring writers’ rights and livelihoods were protected at all times.
“I will endeavour to continue that work, as well as meet the new challenges writers face. If we want the industries in which writers work to flourish we need fresh stories, told from different perspectives. I want to address the under-representation of writers at all levels – women writers, BAME writers, LGBT+ writers, writers with disabilities and those from poorer backgrounds.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the WGGB Executive Council and all of our members for the support they have shown me as Acting General Secretary and Assistant General Secretary.”
WGGB Chair Gail Renard said: “I wholeheartedly welcome Ellie Peers as the WGGB’s new General Secretary. In her time with the Guild, Ellie has been a powerhouse for us both in the UK and internationally. She’s steered the Guild from strength to strength. The Executive Council and I look forward to continuing to work with Ellie to defend our members’ pay, conditions and rights.”
The appointment was made in accordance with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 which states that the post of General Secretary must be advertised every five years, and the WGGB’s Rule Book, which sets out the appointments procedure.
Photo: Reece Lipman @ Chocolate Films