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

  • We surveyed writers on the practices of contributory publishers who charge authors to publish their books – the results will form the basis of a joint campaign with the Society of Authors 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 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 continue to engage with major SVOD players in an attempt to improve the terms of employment for writers. 
  • 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 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 £5.5 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

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 has 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 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 our BAME members and the issues they face.
  • We have run special events to mark Black History Month and Disability History Month for BAME writers and for disabled and neurodiverse writers.
  • 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, are in the process of switching 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.

Covid-19

  • Leading playwrights and theatres have backed best-practice guidelines we launched to protect writers and the health of the sector during lockdown and our campaign for a New Plays Commission Scheme to support new writing. Find out more here.
  • We welcomed the extension of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) but we continue to campaign for an extension of SEISS to support those estimated three million freelancers who are falling 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 are supporting the Federation of Entertainment Unions’ #NoCreativeLeftBehind campaign. 
  • The Covid-19 situation is changing rapidly, and we are talking behind the scenes to employers, Government and policy-makers to make sure writers’ rights remain firmly on the agenda. Keep up-to-date on our special Covid-19 page.

Photo: Shutterstock.com/Pasuwan