Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians

The Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians (ACTT) was a trade union in the United Kingdom which existed between 1933 and 1991.

Full nameAssociation of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians
Date dissolved1991
Merged intoBroadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union
Members20,021 (1982)[1]
JournalFilm and TV Technician[1]
AffiliationLabour Party
Key peopleGeorge Elvin
Alan Sapper
Office location2 Soho Square, London[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom


The union was founded by technicians at the Gaumont British Studios in 1933 as the Association of Cine-Technicians, later becoming the Association of Cinematograph Technicians (ACT).[2] By the following year, it was struggling; it had just 88 members, with only a quarter of those paid up, and it was in financial difficulties. George Elvin was appointed as its first General Secretary the following year, establishing a journal and an employment exchange. Within a year, membership was over 600 and the finances were in good shape.[3] In 1936, the union affiliated to the Trades Union Congress.[2]

ACT began organising film laboratory workers, and in 1943 it affiliated to the Labour Party. At the ACT annual general meeting of 1949 the union made the decision to create ACT Films Limited which with the support of the President of the Board of Trade, Harold Wilson, was established in 1950.[4] In 1955, it extended its coverage to represent technicians working on ITV, and the following year incorporated "Television" into its name.

In the late 1950s, ACTT came into dispute with film directors John and Roy Boulting, and this may have partly inspired their film, I'm All Right Jack. ACTT were highly critical of the film's negative portrayal of trade unionists.

In 1969, Elvin was replaced as General Secretary by Alan Sapper.

The union repeatedly discussed potential mergers with the Association of Broadcasting Staff (ABS), which represented the equivalent workers at the BBC, but these foundered until in 1991 it merged with the Broadcasting and Entertainment Trades Alliance, the successor to the ABS, to form the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union.

Election results

The union sponsored its general secretary as a candidate in the 1951 UK general election.[5]

1951 general electionOxfordGeorge Elvin25,42744.02

General Secretaries

1934: George Elvin
1969: Alan Sapper


1937: Anthony Asquith
1969: George Elvin
1974: Robert Bolt
Ron Bowie
1983: Bruce Anderson

Act Films Ltd


  • Action! Fifty Years in the Life of a Union. Published: 1983 (UK). Publisher: ACTT. ISBN 0 9508993 0 5.


  1. Marsh, Arthur (1984). Trade Union Handbook (3 ed.). Aldershot: Gower. pp. 156–157. ISBN 0566024268.
  2. Macnab, Geoffrey. J. Arthur Rank and the British Film Industry. Routledge, 2013. ISBN 1135087202, 9781135087203
  3. "Obituary: Mr George Elvin", The Times, 16 February 1984
  4. Action! Fifty Years in the Life of a Union. Published: 1983 (UK). Publisher: ACTT. ISBN 0 9508993 0 5. ACT Films Limited - Ralph Bond p80 "ACT Films Ltd's formation was made possible through the support and influence of Harold Wilson MP, who was then the President of the Board of Trade."
  5. "List of Parliamentary Labour candidate and election results, 25th October, 1951". Report of the Fiftieth Annual Conference of the Labour Party: 184–203. 1951.
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