Neighbours crew in industrial dispute
Some technicians employed on FremantleMedia Australia productions including Neighbours are in dispute with the company.
Their union, the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance, says FMA is the only major production company that has walked away from the Motion Picture Production Agreement (MPPA) which covers film and TV crew.
Fremantle is abiding by the BREA award, the federal industrial Award for employees engaged in film and television production in Australia.
The MEAA wants Fremantle to stick to the MPPA agreement as the industry standard; among other things it sets higher minimum wages than BREA. The MPPA agreement expired on January 1 and is being renegotiated by MEAA and SPAA.
Separately, MEAA members employed on Neighbours told FremantleMedia they wanted to negotiate a collective agreement. The MEAA took the case to the Fair Work Commission which ordered Fremantle to negotiate. Those negotiations are continuing.
A FMA spokesman told IF today, “When the Federal Labor Government abolished Work Choices it introduced the Fair Work Act and a range of Modern Awards including BREA. As a result of this, the industry awards were rendered obsolete and any award used must either be the Modern Award (in this case BREA) or an EBA between the Employer and its Employees.
“FremantleMedia Australia cannot rely on the MPPA in the event of an employment dispute as some of the MPPA entitlements do not comply with BREA and it is not an industrial instrument recognised by Fair Work Australia.
“FremantleMedia Australia welcomes ongoing and productive discussion with both the MEAA and SPAA in relation to progressing industrial development in accordance with the legislation."
Mal Tulloch, director of the Entertainment Crew and Sport section of the Alliance, could not be reached for comment today. But last week he told IF the union wants FremantleMedia to abide by the MPPA agreement as the industry standard. Otherwise, he said, there could be "chaos" and a "race to the bottom" on pay and conditions.