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    The Writers Guild of Great Britain is a trade union registered at 134 Tooley Street, London SE1 2TU










  • Writers Guild of Great Britain2

    CONTACT USCall us on 020 7833 0777 or email

    WGGB onlineThere is lots more information on our website, which includes WGGB guidelines, rates and agreements, FAQs, a list of useful links and other resources, contacts, news, campaigns, member interviews, a members area, our Find A Writer directory, online joining, full details of member benefits, and much more.

    Throughout this guide use this icon to find the correct link to follow at

    You can also follow us on Twitter @TheWritersGuild, or on Facebook

  • 1. Introduction 5 2. Top 10 reasons to join WGGB 63. Working for writers in 8 TV 8 Theatre 9 Film 10 Radio 10 Books 11 Animation 11 Comedy 11 Videogames 114. Events and awards 12 5. WGGB in action 13 6. WGGB in your region 147. Member benefits/how to join 16 3


  • Writers Guild of Great Britain4

    WGGB wields influence in (clockwise from top left) Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay, Brussels and beyond. The union is also working hard to protect writers rights during Brexit

  • IntroductionThis booklet will tell you all you need to know about the Writers Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), the TUC-affiliated trade union representing professional writers in TV, film, theatre, radio, books, poetry, animation, comedy and videogames. Our members also include emerging and aspiring writers (known as our Candidate Members).

    We have been negotiating better pay and working conditions for writers since 1959. The national agreements we have in place cover key employers, including the BBC, ITV, National Theatre, Royal Court and Royal Shakespeare Company.

    We have attracted high-profile members throughout our 58-year history, and continue to do so today. Their names include, among many others:

    Screenwriters Steven Moffat, Mike Leigh, Paul Laverty, Kay Mellor, Emma Thompson and Andrew Davies; playwrights Tom Stoppard, Laura Wade, April De Angelis and Mike Bartlett; authors Tony Robinson, Stella Duffy, Sandi Toksvig and David Nicholls.

    We lobby and campaign on behalf of writers, to ensure their voices are heard in a rapidly changing digital landscape, and we wield considerable influence over politicians in Westminster, Brussels, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and beyond.We offer a range of benefits to our members, including free training, contract vetting, a pension scheme, Welfare Fund, entry to our Find A Writer directory, a weekly ebulletin, plus member-only events and discounts and a dedicated area of our website.

    If you are a writer in one of the areas we represent, we look forward to welcoming you, too. Full information on joining can be found on page 17, and there is an application form at the end of this booklet. 5

    Perhaps the best example of reach into the new economy is the well-established Writers Guild of Great Britain which goes some way to bringing worker representation to the expanding online world, videogames and creative content of all sorts.

    JournalisT, aCademiC, Banker and former Blair speeCHWriTer pHilip Collins, WriTinG on TomorroWs Trade unions in ideas maGazine PROSPECT

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    WGGB negotiates agreements on pay with major industry bodies, including BBC, ITV, UK Theatre, ITC and Pact. The more members we have, the stronger we are as a union, and the more we can push for improved deals.

    deCenT CondiTions WGGB agreements also cover writers working conditions and the terms of their contracts. These include a wide range of issues from bullying to rehearsal attendance and protect writers from exploitation.

    ConTraCT veTTinGWGGB provides a contract vetting service for Full and Candidate Members. It is run by WGGB staff and outsourced to external contract vetters when necessary.

    supporT and adviCeWriting can be an isolated profession. As a WGGB member, you will receive the full backing of a professionally run trade union, including advice from our experienced staff, fellow members and, where required, specialist media lawyers. Networking events give you the chance to meet and share issues with fellow writers.

    pension Full Members working in film, TV or radio can join the WGGB pension scheme. This requires that the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 or an independent production company pays an employers contribution of between 6% and 8% of their fee directly into their pension fund.

    free and disCounTed TraininGAs a member of WGGB, you are eligible for free training through the Federation of Entertainment Unions. This includes workshops and online tutorials on a wide variety of skills useful in your freelance career from building your own website and utilising social media to negotiating contracts and keeping your finances in order. WGGB members in Wales are also eligible for discounted training via CULT Cymru, plus there is a 10% discount off course fees at Birkbeck University.

    Top 10 reasons to join WGGB







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    oTHer perks and disCounTs These include a free British Library Reader Pass, plus discounts off tickets at selected theatres, Black List and Script Angel services, Final Draft software and Writers & Artists Yearbook and workshops, special pricing on Apple products, and discounted membership of the London Library, Union Club and Royal Society of Literature. Full Members are also eligible for Cannes Accreditation, entry in the WGGB Find A Writer online directory, and to pay no joining fee for the Writers Guild of America, East or West (if they are eligible for membership).

    Weekly eBulleTinAll WGGB members receive a weekly ebulletin, packed full of news, events, competitions, jobs and writing opportunities.

    GeT involvedAs a WGGB member, you can join one of our craft or regional committees, or the WGGBs decision-making body, our Executive Council. These offer a great way to participate in the running of your union and have a positive impact on writers lives.

    a CampaiGninG union WGGB has a powerful voice in the entertainment industries and campaigns on issues that affect writers. It contributes to public debate via our lobbyists in Westminster and Europe, and has major international affiliations, which enable it to keep ahead of a rapidly changing digital landscape.

    7. 10.


  • Writers Guild of Great Britain8

    Television WGGB and the Personal Managers Association have set up Writers Digital Payments, a not-for-profit company that ensures writers get paid whenever their work is shown on digital services like BBC iPlayer. Over 2 million has been paid to writers to date.

    We are running a campaign, Free is NOT an Option, against unpaid development work in television and film, which has gained considerable support in writers meetings in Brussels and Warsaw, and in Parliament.

    We are tackling the issue of writers not being paid properly on BBC soaps shadow schemes, including EastEnders, Holby City, Casualty and Doctors, and have negotiated fee increases with the BBC.

    We have secured significant improvements for writers affected by BBC cuts on the Doctors and Pobol y Cwm TV series.

    We work collectively with other unions to combat bullying, harassment by managers and colleagues as part of the Creating Without Conflict campaign.

    We continue to negotiate and update our minimum terms agreements with the BBC, ITV and Pact (representing the independent producers).

    We have negotiated a major new agreement with the BBC the Script Agreement for Television and Online.

    I remember way back when I was a jobbing writer, a producer pushed me to change a script which was very dear to me. When I refused they told me they would go ahead and change it themselves anyway. Thankfully I was able to turn to my Writers Guild contract, which protected me and my work from this happening. I will forever be grateful to the Guild for this protection.

    Why Im a WGGB member

    kay mellor oBe

    Working for writers in

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    We negotiate minimum rates increases with UK Theatre, the Independent Theatre Council and TNC (representing the Royal Court, Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre).

    We have won new rights for playwrights commissioned by UK Theatre organisations, including provisions to protect textual integrity and additional fees if their work is performed in English-language productions in non-English speaking countries.

    We have actively supported the Playwrights Progress showcase for new writing; and the In Battalions campaign to highlight the damaging effects of Arts Council cuts.

    We organise the annual Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Awards.

    We organise an annual Literary Managers Forum to discuss issues directly with theatres and touring companies.

    Im a member because Im glad the Writers Guild exists, and its existence should be celebrated. The Guild continues to do hugely important work for all of us, and as a freelance worker, its very empowering to know youve got such a strong organisation behind you.


    o: L




    Why Im a WGGB member

    Laura Wade

  • Writers Guild of Great Britain10


    We negotiated the locked box deal with the British Film Institute (BFI), to ensure that writers get a share (alongside producers and directors) of recouped income from feature films supported with Lottery Funding through the BFI Film Fund (and held in a locked box for reinvestment in the British Film industry).

    We have taken a leading role in an international campaign to have the role of screenwriters recognised at film festivals, commissioning research and a detailed report, Written Into the Picture.

    We host networking events, eg with Film London.

    We organise special screening events. WGGB has gained funding for a major gender equality survey focusing on screenwriters in film and TV, which will form the basis of a campaign.


    We have negotiated special fees for the Home Front Radio 4 drama serial until 2018.

    We meet regularly with the BBC to raise issues on pay and conditions for radio writers, which are enshrined in our national agreement with the corporation.

    We organise the annual Tinniswood audio drama script award alongside the Society of Authors.

    We are planning a Radio Drama Roadshow and best practice guidelines for writers and producers.

    I believe in the union movement and the power of a collective voice to shout loudly for the good of all.

    Im proud to be a member of the Writers Guild, I consider it the greatest of clubs. One that seeks to represent not just one but all.

    Why Im a WGGB member

    Gurpreet kaur Bhatti

    Jack Thorne

    Working for writers in

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    Books We are working on booklets including a Guide to Self-Publishing and planning workshops.

    Our Books Committee represents poets and non-fiction writers, as well as writers of prose and deals with various issues of relevance to them.

    We have defended libraries against devastating cuts.


    We have produced Guidelines for Animation Writers.

    We have produced a best-practice guide for industry professionals in collaboration with the Personal Managers Association.

    Childrens animation scriptwriters are now eligible for the WGGB pension.


    We have revised our Guidelines for Games Writers and those working with them.

    We hold events, including an annual panel event with the International Game Developers Association.


    The recently formed committee has run a sitcom-writing event with comedy legends Marks and Gran.

    Game writers have the capacity to deliver powerful stories that deserve to stand alongside other forms of drama, and this needs to be nurtured. That means the involvement of organisations like WGGB. Im proud to be a game writer, and Im proud to be a member of WGGB.

    We writers tend to be rather solitary people, and it can be easy to rip us off. It makes sense that we have a unified voice and agreements that can protect our interests.

    Photo: Simon Annand

    Why Im a WGGB member

    dan pinchbeck Tony robinson

    The Writers Guild has successfully fought attempts to cut the pay of childrens TV writers, and has updated its guidelines and developed a good practice guide for writers working in animation. It is vitally important.

    WGGB memBer emma reeves

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    Fleabag writer phoebe Waller-Bridge was just one of the guests at the Writers Guild awards 2017 ceremony

    As well as a lively programme of regional events (see pages 14-15), WGGB hosts (or is part of) a number of annual national awards ceremonies.

    The Writers Guild awards The Writers Guild Awards have been celebrating writers, and writing, since they were launched in 1961. They have featured high-profile winners throughout their history, and champion the importance of writers and writing to the creative industries, in the UK and abroad. The Tinniswood awardWGGB presents this audio drama script award each year, in partnership with the Society of Authors, at the annual BBC Audio Drama Awards. It was established in memory of English radio and TV comedy scriptwriter Peter Tinniswood, who died in 2003.

    olwen Wymark Theatre encouragement awardsOur Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Awards were the brainchild of playwright Mark Ravenhill, and were set up to give WGGB members the opportunity to publicly thank those who have provided them with a positive experience in new writing over the previous year.

    other national eventsOur annual forum of theatre literary managers and a videogames panel event are some of the other highlights in our calendar. Further details of all our events are on our website.

    Events and awards

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    WGGB in actionThe Writers Guild of Great Britain campaigns and lobbies on behalf of writers, both in the UK and abroad. In the UK we have tackled issues including unpaid development work in TV, bullying and harassment in the creative industries, lack of visibility of screenwriters at film festivals, gender equality and diversity, the effects of arts funding cuts and of Brexit on writers, and in support of a properly funded BBC.

    As a member of organisations like the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds and the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, we attend regular events abroad to address issues including copyright and collective management.

    We negotiate rates and national agreements for writers its at the heart of what we do. These protect writers pay, and also the conditions under which they work. Our rates and agreements cover TV, theatre, radio an...


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