MEAA shocked by SPAA “attack”

25 June, 2009 by IF

Press release from MEAA

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (the Alliance) today was shocked by the Screen Producers Association of Australia’s (SPAA’s) decision to unilaterally terminate the SPAA/MEAA Commercials Offshore Agreement effective from 7 August 2009 without any consultation whatsoever. The Alliance will be consulting with performers over the next two weeks as to how they wish to respond to this attack on their rights.


“The Offshore Commercials Agreement has worked well for both performers and producers for the past five years,” said Equity Director, Simon Whipp. “So for producers to walk away from this Agreement without consultation, without negotiation and without raising their concerns with us is a slap in the face to all performers. The Alliance is always prepared to talk.”

The Agreement between the SPAA and the Alliance sets the minimum terms and conditions, and broadcast and other rights for artists working on television and theatrical commercials produced in Australia – predominantly for use by overseas advertisers.

“The Offshore Commercials Agreement is of vital importance to protect the pay and conditions of employment of Australian performers working on offshore commercials. It provides performers with minimum session fees, and outlines the use fees payable for each region of the world and different media. If this agreement is terminated by SPAA, the livelihood of many performers throughout Australia will be lost.”

“Offshore commercials are unique in their budget size and often worldwide audience. Performers in offshore commercials provide the products they are selling much more value by being in high budget, widely distributed productions. As such, the use fees and session fees need to reflect this.”

Without the Offshore Commercials Agreement, performers will be at the mercy of whatever conditions or pay producers are prepared to offer.

“Producers are now unilaterally seeking to take hard earned rights and conditions away from performers,
I repeat without talking to us and without any warning.”

The Offshore Commercials Agreement came into existence in the early 1990s with the current Offshore Commercials Agreement coming into force in 2005 following a dispute with SPAA.

“It needs to be recalled that SPAA unilaterally withdrew from the agreement previously in 2004 and so this has become a standard negotiating tactic for the organisation. Such tactics show a lack of respect and are unacceptable. If performers were to accept this what’s to stop theatre, film and television producers to doing the same thing. Performers will not take this sitting down.”