Friday, 26 December 2014

Following in Mum's footsteps - life modelling.

Last academic year all the life modelling courses I did were arranged via the university so clients would approach them and the university would scuttle around trying to find models prepared to do what the customer wanted. Then everything got moved over to a newly created outside agency whose first move was to cut the pay rate for the actual modelling by 17.5% and the mileage allowance paid for travelling to the venue by 10%. 

Then in December they contacted me again claiming that they needed to make their business "more competitive" by cutting both the modelling and travel pay rates still further AND removing their obligation to provide models with a chaperone.

I did some quick sums and this is how it worked out. A three hour modelling contact typically takes 4.5 hours out of my day once I had allowed for the travel time and the unpaid break in mid-session. If I divided the amount I was paid by the 4.5 hours I was earning less than the minimum wage per hour. For life-modelling! No thank you very much!

So I didn't even bother returning the contract. Ten days later a second copy appeared with a note explaining that the first batch of contracts must have got lost somewhere as none had been returned to them!  The truth was of course that nobody in their right mind was going to sign a "zero hours" plus "minimum wage when work is available" agreement.   

I think expecting a life model to operate without a chaperone is the worst aspect of the proposed contract. In effect I am expected to arrive at a venue that I might never have seen before, to meet a group of artists that I have never seen before and then take off all my clothes regardless of the gender balance of the group. Well I for one am not going to work on that basis.  

It didn't take me long to find anther agency who, unlike the first, is run entirely by ladies. I will be meeting with the boss just after the New Year. Every few months she runs courses at half price for regular clients and in exchange for that she is allowed to use the discount course to both train and access the suitability of new recruits for her operation. I will let you know how it goes.

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