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Pact and Bectu agree on pay rates rise in April

Bectu and Pact have agreed to a 3.86% increase in recommended minimum rates for film and TV freelance workers.
The rise applies to all minimum rates in the union's agreement with the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), and takes effect on April 1.
Rates were last increased in October 2003, and the size of next month's rise is meant to compensate in part for the fact that those figures have been held for more than 12 months.
Separately from agreeing to the increase, Pact has warned Bectu that the employers' organisation wants to renegotiate key parts of the main agreement for freelance workers in the industry.
Any changes to the Pact agreement are likely to be discussed against a deteriorating background of film production in the UK, since despite the budget including plans to help filmmakers by extending tax relief on some films to March 2006, the ailing US dollar is likely to keep American producers away.
By September of last year, only 53 films had started production, including the latest Harry Potter movie with a £100 million budget. Bectu officials say they are bracing themselves for a bad year in 2005, which will put pressure on budgets, and in turn the rates offered to crews.

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