By Mark Hodge (doddleNEWS)
Film and TV writers are deep in negotiations with industry leaders to try and stop a strike which would bring the world of entertainment to a grinding halt.
Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have voted 96.3% in favour of striking if the bargaining process with the Alliance Of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) does not produce a contract.
The collective action, which would risk a repeat of the 100 days writers strike in 2007-2008, cannot happen until midnight on May 1, and talks will resume Sunday and Monday, reports Deadline.
But The Wrap reports that the AMPTP will have a formal offer for union bosses today, meaning the strike could be averted, or at least the deadline for the action may be pushed back if the WGA believe the two parties are close to an agreement.
WGA negotiating committee released a statement following the vote by their members.
The statement said: “We thank you for your resolve and your faith in us as your representatives. We are determined to achieve a fair contract. Talks will resume tomorrow.”
AMPTP also released a statement referencing the near complete shutdown of the industry in 2007.
The statement read: “The Companies are committed to reaching a deal at the bargaining table that keeps the industry working. The 2007 Writers Strike hurt everyone. Writers lost more than $287 million in compensation that was never recovered, deals were cancelled, and many writers took out strike loans to make ends meet.
“We remain focused on our objective of reaching a deal with the WGA at the bargaining table when the Guild returns on April 25th.”
The reasons behind the strike include a fall in average pay for TV writers despite profits within the industry rising in the last five years. The WGA’s health plan also faces projected deficits of $145 million over the next three years, reports Deadline.
Union bosses said that entertainment companies earned $51 billion in profits in 2016 yet, “the economic position of writers has declined sharply in the last five or so years. Screenwriters have been struggling for a long time. They are now joined by TV writers, for whom short seasons are at the core of the problem. In the last two years alone, the average salary of TV writer-producers fell by 23%.
“Those declines have not been offset by compensation in other areas. In Basic Cable and new media, our script fees and residual formulas continue to trail far behind those in broadcast – even though these new platforms are every bit as profitable as the old model.”
Stay tuned for the latests on the writers strike.