Press release from MEAA

Actors around the world are standing behind their Australian colleagues, whose strike for fair working conditions on offshore television commercials has entered its third month.

In June this year the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) wrote to Actors Equity Australia saying it was terminating the existing offshore commercials agreement. Prior to this letter there had been no indication that SPAA was unhappy with the agreement or would like to make amendments.

The agreement sets the minimum terms and conditions for artists working on foreign commercials shot in Australia. In a ballot, 98 per cent of Actors Equity Australia members voted in favour of industrial action from Friday August 7 if a new offshore commercials agreement had not been reached with SPAA. Despite repeated requests, SPAA has refused to negotiate a new agreement.

Equity national director Simon Whipp said: “SPAA has created a situation of uncertainty for performers, producers and their international clients. Australian performers do not want to be on strike – they want an agreement”.

Last week the International Federation of Actors (North America/English Speaking Group)
publicly passed a resolution expressing strong support for striking Australian actors and calling for SPAA to immediately commence negotiations with Equity to reach an agreement. The resolution follows.

Resolution passed by the International Federation of Actors, October 2009

This meeting of the International Federation of Actors North America/ English Speaking Group (FIA/ESG), having heard a report from the MEAA concerning the strike by Australian performers as a result of the termination of the Offshore Commercials Agreement by the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPPA):

1. Notes with considerable concern the termination of the Agreement by the SPAA and the disrespect for performers and their union evidenced by the SPAA’s actions.

2. Expresses strong support for Australia performers in their strike action against SPAA and Australia producers and advises that members of FIANA/ESG will provide all necessary support to ensure strike is brought to a conclusion favourable to its members.

3. Calls on SPAA to immediately commence negotiations with the MEAA to reach an agreement with the union.

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