Page last updated at 09:26 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

Film workers lobby against strike

Demonstrating workers
The demonstrators begged actors not to authorise a strike in January

Around a dozen film industry workers have protested outside a meeting of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in Hollywood, urging attendees not to call a strike.

The demonstrators held up signs saying "Please No Strike Now" - a reference to the union's plans to send out strike authorisation ballots on 2 January.

The strike vote must be approved by 75 per cent of voting members to succeed.

The meeting came ahead of Thursday's announcement of the nominations for next year's Screen Actors Guild awards.

The protesters, who included location scouts, technicians and camera-equipment vendors, claimed work has been scarce due to concerns over an imminent actor walk-out.

"Since the last contract expired in June, it's basically killed the feature film business," one told the Associated Press.


Union leaders have failed to reach an agreement on a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

Actors are currently working under the provisions of their old contract, which expired on 30 June.

One of the key areas of contention is how, and how much, actors should be paid for film and TV content delivered over the internet.

It's a shame these high-profile actors are undermining their own union
Rob Schneider

Union leaders are also seeking coverage for all internet-only productions and continued actor benefits during work stoppages.

SAG members are divided on the strike issue, however, with more than 130 stars - Cameron Diaz, Pierce Brosnan and Dame Helen Mirren among them - coming out against a strike this week.

"We feel very strongly that SAG members should not vote to authorise a strike at this time," they wrote in a joint letter to the union leadership.

Others, however, have taken the opposite stance, including Lou Grant star Ed Asner and comic actor Rob Schneider.

"It's a shame these high-profile actors are undermining their own union," said Schneider after the 'town hall' meeting on Wednesday.

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