ACCT – Sid & Alf Cooper

Amber worked extensively within the Association of Cinematograph Television and Allied Technicians in the development of the Workshop Movement. In the interview with Bessie Bond, Murray Martin talks about the project being an education for Amber and the workshops as well as contributing to the history of the union. The interviews engage extensively with the British Documentary Movement. The ACTT’s Workshop Agreement enabled the independent filmmaking groups to unionise, pay an egalitarian wage and to work across the different craft skill ‘grades’. Without this, the workshops would not have been able to access the broadcast media and notably Channel 4. ACTT became BECTU, which in 2017 merges with Prospect.

Sid & Alf Cooper

0.00 1985 ACTT Conference. Sid Cooper. Alf Cooper. Technicolor Management. Foreign companies not acknowledging trade union practices. Harris and Oats. 1936. Beginning organising laboratories. Burt Crake. BIP British International Productions. Charlie Parkhouse, Kays. Optical Printer, Elstree. Boiler House. Bessie Bond. Poland Street. 25,000 members. Lack of knowledge of trade union movement. Conserve mortgage rather than movement. Miners movement.

7.45 Anthony Asquith. liberal, son of prime minister. Margot Asquith. Loyal to union, President of Union. ACTT, democracy. People negotiate, work under new agreements. Paid negotiated team a bad thing in the union movement. Industry – George Elvin. Technicolor US company. Oats to Elvin, House of Commons. 3am. Film Industry going within WW2. Film started in UK.

12.30 ACTT. Industry flourishing. Originated by the Union – National Film Finance Corporation. Eady Levy. National Film School. International Federation Union.

13.45 Cash. Cine-technicians. George Elvin. 1935 George V celebrations. Richard Naugton, Head of Pinewood Studios. Changed after WW2. Different political climate.

18.15 1954-55. Commercial TV. Union in favour nationalised BBC. Controversy intentions to commercial TV.

20.15 Current situation. AVS better if joined, stronger position. Industry fully organised. Younger members. strong approach to current affairs.

22.30 Worries of working class movement. Looking back, Waste of time. Tory party trade union groups. Technicolor. Toryism – Fascism at 10 Downing Street. Trade Union, a political party of its own. Better standards leads to Tory sympathies.

27.40 ACTT members who voted Conservative.

28.50 National Film School. Taring college for people coming into the industry. Jenny Leigh. Harold Wilson Gov. National Film School under threat. Removal of funding. affecting the BFI. Education for specialism.

32.10 Conditions of Laboratories. Overtime. ACT. BIP. Two top jobs, optical printer and negative developer. Site developing. 45 hours a week, at Technicolor.

38.10 Editor. no overtime. Supper money. unlimited hours. Garden City, Studios. Conferences – 8-10 years to get down to a 40 hour week. Illegal Strike.

41.35 Working week. 5 day, 40 hour week. Production went up. WW1 Shell production. Extend hours, cutting the hours improves production. More intensive work. Parkinson’s law. International relations. Film/TV unions all over the world. France Italian Unions. Rome. UK – One TU movement. Italian – 2 union moments. Catholic/Communist. 25-30 international unions. East and West. No bar politically. International solidarity. Production to Yugoslavia. Spaletto. Russian. East Germany. US.

47.10 Documentary Movement. Bucket Shop Industry. Grierson. Problems after setting up companies. Non-profit. Separate agreement with doc films then feature films. ACT encouraged the documentary movement. Socially orientated films. Housing Problems. Edgar Anstey. Direct interview with the public. Deprived housing. TV reportage. Humphrey Jennings.

50.00 Chairman of Lab branch.

52.10 Ealing Studios. BBC. Rank Studio. Last studio with regular staff. Freelance. Organised Hollywood. Commercial factories. Distribution. British costs difficult to recoup negative costs. British success. Freelance. Francis Ford Coppola. Home market. Australia. New Zealand. National Film Finance Corporation.

56.10 English speaking. mid atlantic english. Kes. Northern accent.

58.10 Workshop movement. State cinema for British culture. Salvation of national film culture. Representing culture through film. True to life. Dynasty.

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