All the public service broadcasters including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV, as well as Sky and UKTV, have committed to taking part in the quarterly discussions.
Arts and entertainment union Bectu and producers’ trade association Pact will also be at the meetings which have been pulled together by Adeel Amini from the TV Mindset, an organisation which aims to support the mental health of TV freelancers.
Items on the agenda for discussion include employment and recruitment practices, health and safety, workplace culture, race and diversity, bullying and harassment, training and talent progression, new talent and mental health and wellbeing.
These issues have all shot up the TV industry agenda in recent months, with the Covid-19 crisis as well as the Black Lives Matter protests shining a light on freelance working practices in the production sector.
Other groups signed up to attend the discussions include ScreenSkills, the Film and TV Charity and a number of pressure groups.
The first meeting will take place at the end of September or early October and will continue every quarter until December 2021.
Organisations in the coalition have signed a document with a statement of intent that says: “We believe every freelancer working in our industry deserves decent working and that we should all advocate a culture that promotes respect, professionalism and investment in people.”
“The best creative content will come from an industry that puts people first, celebrates difference and enables us all to thrive. Ours is an industry made up of a huge range of different companies, broadcasters and talented people, and we all have a role to play in shaping the way we work.”
Founder of the TV Mindset Adeel Amini said: “The COVID crisis has brought freelancer issues into sharp focus, as well as the precarious nature of our industry as a whole. It is critical that we don’t emerge from this the same way we went in, and I believe that future change can only be achieved by having the entire industry working together.”
C4 head of factual Danny Horan said: “Our industry not just relies, but thrives on the creative spirit and minds of freelancers. We are nothing without them and whilst there is some extraordinary work – training, recruitment, workplace culture – happening in many quarters of the industry, we also recognise that’s not the reality for all.”
Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “The pandemic has shown no mercy and its effect has laid bare the challenges that freelancers have been dealing with for too long. These conversations are an historic opportunity to reset and create a new deal for a part of the industry whose experience and wellbeing have been overlooked in the past.”
Share My Telly Job founder Louise Patel said: “The Coalition for Change is the first, giant step in uniting a fractious industry for the benefit of all people working within it. As we navigate through an exceptionally challenging period of production, a joint force protecting the rights of freelancers is the only way we can achieve a fair and sustainable work life balance.”
Pact CEO John McVay, commented: “We are committed to ensuring that ours is an inclusive industry which attracts and retains the very best people, and provides a safe and supportive environment for them to work in. The COVID-19 crisis has forced us all to face up to some challenging issues and think about how – as an industry – we can do things differently going forward.”