TVVRT has chosen production house Eyeworks to produce the daily fiction series ‘Thuis’ from the beginning of 2023. This was announced by the public broadcaster in a press release. Small detail: the transformation plan will not be on the table before the board of directors until Monday. So it has not been officially approved yet.
The production house Eyeworks, which operates under the foreign Warner Bros. falls, came out best from the discussions with various production houses. The production house has concrete plans to invest in the further growth of the successful daily fiction series. It gives a central role to the current employees. Eyeworks has been making fiction for VRT continuously since 1995, including numerous successful fiction series such as ‘Flikken’, ‘De Twaalf’, ‘Eigen Kweek’ and ‘Chantal’. “This step is the best proof that we continue to set the bar high for our most successful daily program”, says Frederik Delaplace, CEO VRT.
Eyeworks itself is already looking forward to bringing the company’s creativity, know-how and passion for fiction together with the very talented creators of ‘Thuis’. In the end, three basic principles were important to the VRT, namely that they should not let go of ‘Thuis’, but instead were looking for a way to make new investments in the successful program possible. In addition, they were looking for a solid and financially stable partner to realize their ambitions. Finally, an equal pay and working conditions were negotiated. In this way, the public broadcaster wants to secure the future of the actors and production staff
Eyeworks and WBITVP (Warner Bros. International Television Production Belgium) want to house ‘Thuis’ in new studios that better meet contemporary production needs. In their own words, this will greatly improve working conditions. Eyeworks has already provided several concrete and feasible options for this. In addition, it is also important for the production house to welcome the ‘Home’ team with open arms. That is why they are determined to work with the entire company, Eyeworks and Warner Bros. ITVP Belgium, to move to the new studios. For example, the cast and crew of ‘Thuis’ can play a central role on a new site where all employees can feel at home. According to the public broadcaster, this also creates opportunities for the ‘Thuis’ employees to participate in other Eyeworks and WBITVP productions.
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The transfer of ‘Thuis’ to a production house is part of the strategic decision of the public broadcaster to no longer produce fiction internally. International competition sets the quality bar for fiction very high, making financing expensive and complex. In addition, ‘Thuis’ must also seek connection with young people, for example through more multimedia access and with formats aimed at young people. It is untenable for VRT to continue to do so on its own. In line with the legislation on the outsourcing of activities, all employees who work full-time or most of their time for ‘Home’ will transfer to the new producer. To this end, VRT has conducted collective negotiations in consultation with the buyer to obtain equivalent wages and working conditions.
The ‘Home’ actors have previously shown that they were not immediately waiting for a takeover. “A good week ago we heard the new conditions”, the main cast of ‘Thuis’ said in a joint response in mid-November. “The management has always told us that we would get equal conditions with a new production house. The only thing that will change is the name of the employer, the VRT management said in April. It seems that we are now going to have to pay for it.”
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Some actors also expressed fears for their personal futures. “Surely it cannot be the intention that if we – against will and thanks – are obliged to transfer to another employer, we will also lose out.” Especially in times when life is becoming more expensive for everyone. One of the actresses has just built a house. “Since January this year I have been paying off my house and in April I was told ‘bye bye’. That’s really not cool.”
In recent days, the actors of the soap have also taken a few work breaks. “We interrupt our work because our terms of employment are not the same or equivalent in the event of a possible takeover (by an external production house, ed.) and the current work systems will not be maintained,” it was said in a press release a few days ago.
The unions also want to go to the cabinet of media minister Benjamin Dalle (CD&V) next Monday. They want to hand him the petition ‘Let ‘Home’ Stay Home’. Negotiations within the relevant sector committee will also start on that day. After the negotiations, the board of directors of the VRT must give its approval for the transformation plan, which includes the outsourcing of the ‘Thuis’ production.
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