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The union representing US production crews has called off planned strikes after securing a three-year deal that mandates major TV and film studios to improve wages, avoid work spilling into weekends and ensure 10 hours of rest a day.

The eleventh-hour agreement was struck on Saturday, ahead of a proposed strike that would have started across the US today.

It follows weeks of to-and-fro between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IASTSE), representing crews, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), whose members include Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Apple, Netflix, and Amazon.

It pledges: 

  • A living wage for the lowest-paid earners
  • Improved wages and working conditions for streaming
  • Retroactive wage increases of 3% a year
  • Increased meal period penalties
  • Daily rest periods of 10 hours without exclusions
  • Weekend rest periods of 54 hours (two-day) and 32 hours (one-day)
  • Recognition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday holiday
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives   
  • Nationwide expansion of sick leave benefit

It is not yet a done deal: members will now be balloted and lawyers will spend several weeks drawing up formal contracts before the vote can be ratified. Variety quotes several crew members saying they will continue to support a strike.

Several US reports quote some disgruntlement within the 60,000 workers affected, with some arguing that the union’s leadership has let them down with a deal that does not go far enough in addressing the ongoing issues.

The IATSE’s efforts won praise from other parts of the entertainment industry and unions in other industries, as well as 120 members of Congress, who signed a letter of support.

Bectu congratulated its US peers for “holding firm and negotiating hard”.

 

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