Unpaid work in the UK television and film industries: Resistance and changing attitudes

Neil Percival, David Hesmondhalgh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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This article concerns resistance to unpaid work in the television and film industries. It outlines one notable and successful campaign against unpaid labour which was conducted in the UK television industry and discusses how a similar campaign in the film industry met much greater opposition. It then reports on a survey that was conducted in order to investigate the seeming differences in attitudes in the two industries observed during these campaigns. While confirming that workers in the film industry are more prepared to accept unpaid labour than television workers, the survey also revealed a more striking characteristic: those who have worked longer in either sector view unpaid labour considerably less favourably than relative newcomers. The article discusses possible reasons for this, such as self-interest and altruistic attitudes towards younger workers; it also explores some implications for future working conditions, and for the role of activism and solidarity in resisting the worst aspects of existing labour relations in the cultural industries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-203
JournalEuropean Journal of Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


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