Fashion freelancers can now join a union for creative workers

Freelance staff working in the fashion industry can now join Bectu, a trade union for the creative industries.

Counting over 40,000 members, Bectu represents workers in the music, film, television and other creative industries. Fashion assistants and freelancers will for the first time have a support body to turn to.

Tamara Cincik, CEO of industry think tank Fashion Roundtable, said: “The fashion industry is creative and exciting, but if you cannot make a career from it with any stability and you run the real risk of late or non-payment from clients, it is not sustainable. Fashion assistants are being offered 50 pounds for a shoot day with no travel costs covered. I earnt 50 pounds as an assistant in 1993. In 1993 the average London home cost 81,000 pounds, now it is 514,000 pounds. If you are earning that kind of money, you cannot plan ahead, or build a life”.

“An assistant on 50 pounds a day cannot negotiate higher wages and more job security, which is hard enough when you are freelance anyway. A union can.”

Until June 14, fashion assistants and stylists can join Bectu for 7.50 pounds per month or 38 pounds per year.

“Our members are ambitious, even when they face uncertainty and precarious conditions in their career. As a union, we’re ambitious, too. We will support members when something goes wrong at work and we’ll stand up for their rights and protect their jobs.”

“Whether you’re a staff member, worker or are self-employed we’re here for you at every step of your career – be it getting started in the creative industries, pushing for a promotion, or training for something new.” – Bectu

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Last year Bectu launched a survey to identify the scale of toxic fashion industry norms, which is not far from Emily in Paris or the magazine fictionalised by The Devil Wears Prada, at least not for entry-level assistants.

Survey organiser Jane Perry said: “It is not acceptable to think that abusive treatment of fashion assistants is an acceptable industry norm, and we encourage all Fashion Assistants to share their concerns, join the union and stick together to challenge this.”

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