WGGB has been winning for writers for 60 years, across all the craft areas we represent. Take a look at some of our most recent successes below, and if you would like to become a member, you can join online here.

Animation

  • We have produced Guidelines for Animation Writers.
  • We have produced a best-practice guide for industry professionals in collaboration with the Personal Managers’ Association.
  • Children’s animation scriptwriters are now eligible for the WGGB pension.

Books

  • With Society of Authors we surveyed writers on the practices of ‘hybrid’/paid-for publishers who charge authors to publish their books and have published a report and are campaigning to tackle bad practice.
  • We have supported libraries, museums and galleries against devastating cuts.
  • Our Books Committee represents poets and non-fiction writers as well as writers of prose and deals with various issues of relevance to them.
  • We have launched the Best First Novel Writers’ Guild Award.

Comedy

  • We have launched a new Best Online Comedy Writers’ Guild Award.
  • We run special events, including Can you Make a Living Writing Comedy?, Writing for Sitcom with comedy legends Marks and Gran and Voices for Change with Paul Sinha, Dane Baptiste and Mrs Barbara Nice.
  • We have supported Comedy 50:50, an initiative with ITV, RTS, ERA 50:50, Funny Women and BAFTA to implement measures to address gender imbalance in comedy, starting with writers.

Film

  • Our Film Committee has a presence on the industry-wide Covid-19 Screen Sector Taskforce, a BFI organised group coordinating feedback to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. 
  • We have launched joint guidelines with Directors UK, Creating positive collaborations: writers and directors.
  • We commissioned an independent report on the under-representation of women writers in film and TV and launched the Equality Writes campaign.
  • WGGB helped develop and supported BAFTA and BFI’s 8 Principles for combating bullying and harassment in film, TV and videogames.
  • We have negotiated the Locked Box system with the British Film Institute.
  • We have run a series of free, exclusive WGGB member film screenings, and offered members the chance to attend film premieres, including Q&As with writers, directors and leading cast members.
  • We have started work on revising our film agreement with Pact.
  • We have taken a leading role in an international campaign to have the role of screenwriters recognised at film festivals, commissioning research and a detailed report, Written Into the Picture.

Radio and audio

  • We have negotiated special fees for BBC podcasts.
  • We meet regularly with the BBC to raise issues on pay and conditions for audio writers, which are enshrined in our national agreement with the corporation.
  • We have run a series of Radio Drama Roadshows around the UK.
  • We organise the annual Tinniswood audio drama script award, alongside the Society of Authors, which is presented at the BBC Audio Drama Awards.
  • We have sponsored the UK International Radio Drama Festival.
  • We were part of BBC Love it or Lose It, a campaign in support of a strong, independent and properly funded BBC as it faced charter renewal in 2016.
  • We are involved in events, including A New Era in BBC Audio Drama, with Radio 4’s drama and fiction commissioner Alison Hindell.

Television

  • We have negotiated a major new television agreement with the BBC, the Script Agreement for Television and Online, which includes changes to the rights of children’s and animation writers.
  • We are challenging inequality, and alongside our sister unions BECTU and the NUJ have boycotted the broadcasters’ Project Diamond diversity initiative.
  • We have launched new guidelines to the ‘created by’ credit, bringing the UK in line with international standards and ensuring TV writers get the credit, control over their work and financial remuneration they deserve.
  • We have launched joint guidelines with Directors UK, Creating positive collaborations: writers and directors.
  • We continue to engage with major SVOD players in an attempt to improve the terms of employment for writers. 
  • We have negotiated pay increases for Emmerdale writers to bring them into line with ITV’s other flagship soap Coronation Street.
  • We ran a training event for writers on the US showrunners model, and a special launch event for our Showrunning in the UK best-practice guidelines.
  • We hosted a meeting between BEATS, BBC and CBBC, which saw the BBC confirm a commitment to contracting as many East Asian comedy writers and off-screen crew as possible who meet requirements for the show.
  • We commissioned an independent report on the under-representation of women writers in film and TV and launched the Equality Writes campaign.
  • WGGB helped develop and supported BAFTA and BFI’s 8 Principles for combating bullying and harassment in film, TV and videogames.
  • We have run a campaign, Free is NOT an Option, against unpaid work in television.
  • We work collectively with other unions to combat bullying, harassment by managers and colleagues as part of the Creating Without Conflict campaign.
  • We continue to negotiate and update our minimum terms agreements with the BBC, ITV and Pact (representing the independent producers).
  • WGGB and the Personal Managers’ Association set up and run Writers Digital Payments, a not-for-profit company that ensures writers get paid whenever their work is shown on digital services like BBC iPlayer. It has paid out over £6.8 million to writers.
  • We are tackling issues on BBC ‘soaps’, including unpaid shadow schemes, and have negotiated fee increases with the BBC.
  • We were part of BBC Love it or Lose It, a campaign in support of a strong, independent and properly funded BBC as it faced charter renewal in 2016.

Theatre

  • We regularly negotiate significant minimum rates increases with UK Theatre, the Independent Theatre Council and TNC (representing the Royal Court, Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre).
  • We have launched a New Play Commission Scheme alongside partner organisations. The scheme (which will open for submissions on 12 May 2022) tackles the decline in new playwriting commissions because of the pandemic (find out more).
  • We agreed a groundbreaking set of principles to govern digital broadcasts of stage plays by the Royal Court, Royal Shakespeare Company and National theatre (view them here) and published Digital Delivery of New Plays, which was backed by a number of leading playwrights (find out more).
  • Playwrights commissioned by the National Theatre will enjoy new protections for digital use of their work, following terms agreed by WGGB under its umbrella TNC Agreement.
  • We have produced best-practice guidelines to protect playwrights and the health of the theatre sector during the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • We have launched the Musical Theatre Kit, a joint publication with the Musicians’ Union and a map to both unions’ latest musical theatre writing guidelines.
  • We hold annual Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Awards.
  • We organise the annual Literary Managers’ Forum to discuss issues directly with the theatres and the production companies.
  • We have launched the Good Neighbour Initiative with the Dramatists Guild of America, an international program for members of both organisations.
  • We support the 10 Principles tackling the problem of bullying and harassment in theatre and a helpline launched by SOLT and UK Theatre.
  • We have won new rights for playwrights commissioned by UK Theatre organisations, including additional fees if their work is performed in English-language productions in non-English speaking countries.
  • We produced a Rights Card for playwrights working under our TNC and UK Theatre agreements.
  • We have actively supported the Playwrights’ Progress showcase for new writing; and the In Battalions campaign to highlight the damaging effects of Arts Council cuts.
  • We have launched a new category in the annual Writers’ Guild Awards honouring the craft of musical theatre bookwriting.
  • We have reached an agreement with Adam Matthew Digital, which is collaborating on a project with the Royal Shakespeare Company, to provide digital access to their archive. The agreement covers rates for rights and extensions.

Videogames

  • We have revised our guidelines for games writers and those who work with them and released results of a survey which showed over 50% of games writers have experienced bullying and harassment.
  • We hold events, including an annual panel event with the International Game Developers Association and a week-long online festival on videogames writing.
  • WGGB helped develop and supported BAFTA and BFI’s 8 Principles for combating bullying and harassment in film, TV and videogames.

All craft areas

  • WGGB has lobbied Government during the Brexit negotiations and beyond, to ensure writers’ voices are heard and stay firmly on the agenda. The Government’s failure to agree travel rights for UK artists and creators post-Brexit led to calls from the Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU), of which WGGB is part, to address this issue urgently (read a joint statement we issued in January 2021).
  • We are campaigning against plans to privatise Channel 4 which will be detrimental to both the TV and film industries in the UK, as well as creative workers, audiences and the economy as a whole.
  • We have campaigned against cuts to funding for arts subjects at English universities.
  • We have launched Telling our stories, a survey into the experiences of ethnically diverse scriptwriters in film, gaming, radio, TV and theatre which will inform the next phase of our Equality Writes campaign.
  • We supported the #PayTheCreator campaign from the Creators’ Rights Alliance, of which WGGB is a member (find out more).
  • We were part of the #SaveUnionLearning campaign and the #CreativeWorkforcePledge campaign.
  • Following the tragic death of George Floyd and the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement the WGGB joined many others in observing #BlackOutTuesday on Tuesday 2 June 2020. Our Equality and Diversity Committee is currently formulating an action plan to best support all our under-represented members and the issues they face.
  • We have run special events to mark Black History Month and Disability History Month. We also celebrated LGBTQ+ History Month.
  • We have submitted evidence to Parliament, including Breaking the Class Ceiling, an inquiry launched by the Performers’ Alliance All-Party Parliamentary Group, which is tackling the lack of working-class writers, performers and musicians.
  • We have stood by our sister unions, the Writers Guild of America East and West, in the United States, on a number of issues. These include the WGA’s condemnation of former President Trump’s Muslim ban, discriminatory and unequal pay among ITV’s employees in the US, and the WGA’s dispute with talent agents.
  • We heard the call of young activists in the Youth For Climate / School Strike movement, who asked adults to come out and strike with them and join a week of action in September 2019. We passed a motion at our AGM that same year declaring a climate emergency (read the full statement) and pledging to “put the climate crisis at the heart of all we do”. Since then we have introduced vegetarian/vegan food only at events, have switched to non-plastic membership cards and are looking at other ways to reduce our carbon footprint and that of our members, including utilising digital technology like Zoom for our events. We also supported Film Strike for Climate at COP26.
  • We have launched a guide to writers for navigating writing competitions: Competition or cut-price commission?

Covid-19

  • Leading playwrights and theatres backed best-practice guidelines we launched to protect writers and the health of the sector during lockdown. Find out more here.
  • We welcomed the extension of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and campaigned for an extension of SEISS to support those estimated three million freelancers who fell through the gaps.
  • We welcomed a report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in July 2020 which backed our calls for an extension and expansion of SEISS and the establishment of a UK Creators Council. We had called for both of these in open letters we sent to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.
  • We wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of the Creators’ Rights Alliance, calling on him to fixed the flawed SEISS following his November 2020 Spending Review and in support of the Excluded UK community prior to the 2021 Budget. 
  • Creative Scotland listened to the calls of the WGGB Scotland Branch in its announcement in August 2020 of a package of £10 million of Covid-19 funding to support freelance artists and creatives (read the full story). WGGB Scotland Chair Bill Armstrong also gave evidence to MSPs in January 2021 about the impact of the pandemic on Scottish writers (read more).
  • The Welsh Government listened to the WGGB Wales Branch and other creative unions and organisations when it announced a package of support for freelancers (find out more on our special Covid page for writers in Wales, which includes a Welsh language version).
  • We launched an extensive programme of online free events for writers (see what we’ve got coming up).
  • We supported the Federation of Entertainment Unions’ #NoCreativeLeftBehind campaign. 

Photo: Shutterstock.com/Pasuwan