Galvanised by a determination to eradicate bullying and harassment and support victims more effectively, A new Set of Principles and zero-tolerance Guidance has been developed by organisations across the film, television and video games industries including BFI, BAFTA, BECTU, Directors UK, Equity, Pact, The Production Guild, Women in Film & TV, Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), UK Screen Alliance, UK Interactive Entertainment.
Ellie Peers, WGGB General Secretary said, “Industry bodies and trade unions have put their differences aside to work together to eradicate bullying and harassment in the UK screen industries. This is remarkable, and illustrates how serious this issue has become.
Gail Renard, WGGG Chair said, “The concepts of equality, support and respect fill me with optimism and if these principles are adhered to and robustly monitored by everyone in the industry, we can effect change. Bullying and harassment can be eradicated if we all work together. Let’s make our industry safer, happier and hence more productive for all.”
“Bullying and harassment have no place in our industries. These Principles aim to eradicate such abuse. They can also help employers meet legal requirements and offer a shared vision to promote and maintain a safer, more inclusive workplace environment for everyone working within the screen industries. All employers, employees, officers, workers, agency workers, trainees, volunteers, trustees and freelancers should adhere to the following principles.”
- Everyone is responsible for creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace that is positive and supportive.
- We recognise that harassment may be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010
- Those of us who are employers accept our responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
- We do not tolerate bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, and will ensure that processes are in place for the reporting and investigation of these serious issues.
- We recognise that bullying and harassment can have significant adverse impacts on the productivity, long-term health and well-being of affected people and we will work to eradicate it. This will mean providing adequate protection for complainants and victims, and, where bullying or harassment is found to have occurred, taking appropriate action against bullies or harassers.
- We value inclusivity, appreciate difference, welcome learning from others, and consider people equal without prejudice or favour. We build relationships based on mutual respect. We will all work to give and receive feedback in a constructive way, which we know will improve creativity and productivity.
- We understand that reporting bullying or harassment can be intimidating. We will respect confidentiality where possible and aim to make the process of reporting clear and straightforward. If anyone comes forward to report behaviour which might amount to bullying or harassment, we will endeavour to investigate objectively. Individuals who have made complaints of bullying and harassment or participate in good faith in any investigation should not suffer any form of reprisal or victimisation as a result.
- We will respect each other’s dignity, regardless of the seniority of our role in an organisation.
Olivia Hetreed, WGGB President said “Bullying and harassment have been part of the landscape of filmmaking for so long that we are used to simply putting up with it and moving on. With these Principles we have a new standard to hold to, offering a wake-up call to perpetrators, hope for the victimised and clear guidelines for everyone else to hold to. As a union, our first duty is to protect our members and this is a very welcome step forward for us all.”
Guidance: aims and objectives
“This Guidance will help workplaces to go beyond the legal requirements and create policies and procedures to identify and deal with bullying and harassment if it occurs – no matter the employment status or seniority of the person involved. It encourages a ‘no bystander’ culture and offers some tool for those who witness such behaviour to tackle it when they see it.
However, its primary objective is prevention – by encouraging all employers and workers to promote their commitment to stamping out bullying and harassment, and to clearly understand the processes that are in place to deal with it, we can all have a role in sending a message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
We encourage all those in the industry to familiarise themselves with the recommendations for both employers and employees. We believe that changing the culture is not just about what employers can do, but also about workers having a shared expectation of what structures should be in place to tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace.”
Film and TV Support Line
From April, a new Film and TV Support Line from the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund will be set up, free of charge for anyone working in the film and television industry.
Ellie Peers, WGGB General Secretary said, “We have worked collaboratively on producing this set of principles and guidelines. This is a positive start, but it is only the beginning. The end game has to be when people working across our industry feel confident to report bullying and harassment without fear of reprisals, that they will be treated with dignity and respect and that effective action is taken against perpetrators. This is all achievable if we continue to work collaboratively to eradicate bullying and harassment.”
The policy will be reviewed at six monthly intervals and updated as necessary.