Producers behind Channel 4’s Made in Chelsea have been accused of underpaying extras on the series.
The Film Artistes’ Association – a division of union BECTU – has claimed that an agreed industry rate it has in place is being ignored by Monkey Kingdom, the production company behind the programme.
Using this rate, Monkey Kingdom should be paying extras appearing in the series £83.72 for a standard nine-hour day, with overtime paid at £7.84 per half-hour.
However, the FAA has said the company is paying extras only the minimum wage – £6.19 an hour for those aged 21 and over – which is significantly less than the union rate.
BECTU national official Gerry Carr said: “Supporting artists are production workers and, like every other grade, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We have a long-established agreement and it needs to be upheld.”
The FAA’s rate was agreed with producers’ body PACT, of which Monkey Kingdom is a member.
Carr said the production company claimed it had been told it could pay the minimum wage rather than the union-agreed rate after it sought advice from PACT.
But he added: “The FAA and BECTU have negotiated over a number of years with PACT, and our position is quite clear – we expect our members to work to the terms of the agreement and we expect PACT to recommend the agreement to its members. We both work towards the benefits of our individual members, and it seems obvious that if you negotiate an agreement with a trade union you at least recommend it to your members.”
Carr said that Monkey Kingdom would have extras’ details on file, and added that he hoped the company would pay them retrospectively.
“If they are engaging extras they will have their details, and any adjustments to pay can be done in due course,” he said.
However, a spokeswoman for Monkey Kingdom said: “We are satisfied that we are meeting all our obligations to extras.”
PACT declined to comment.