Page last updated at 09:25 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 10:25 UK

US actors' union rejects pay deal

Screen Actors Guild picket line
Actors are working under a contract which expired last month

US acting union the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has put forward a fresh proposal over pay after rejecting the latest offer made by Hollywood studios.

SAG, which has 120,000 members, wants more money for actors when their work is released on DVD, plus a greater say in the endorsement of products on-air.

But movie bosses did not appear willing to consider any revisions to the "final" deal they proposed last week.

A smaller US acting union approved a new prime-time TV contract on Tuesday.

However, a spokesman for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) said: "We made it clear our final is our final and that we're not interested in further counterproposals."

The AMPTP urged SAG's leadership to submit their offer - a package the studios say is worth $250 million (126 million) in additional payments over three years - once again for a vote from union members.

'Highly inflated'

"The last thing we need is a long, hot summer of labour strife that puts even more pressure on a badly struggling economy and deprives audiences of the entertainment they clearly desire in such difficult times," the AMPTP said.

The two sides met privately for more than five hours before the AMPTP released a statement saying the guild was "unreasonably" seeking more than other unions.

Doug Allen, SAG's executive director and chief negotiator, called the $250 million estimate "highly inflated", claiming that proposed raises to actors' minimum wages would not benefit the higher-paid actors.

Mr Allen said the union made a "comprehensive counterproposal that adopted some of their proposals and offered alternatives on others".

'Cordial' meeting

The session came as actors continue to work under a contract that expired last month.

News agency Reuters reported that sources from both sides said the meeting, described as "cordial", ended with SAG negotiators saying they would meet among themselves and contact the studios on Friday if there was anything to discuss together.

The studios' latest offer to SAG essentially mirrors the terms of a separate TV-only deal agreed on Tuesday by members of the smaller American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

This deal boosts minimum wages by 3.5% in the first year of the contract, 3% in the second and 3.5% in the third.

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