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Wednesday, 3 January, 2001, 09:31 GMT
Writers move to avoid Hollywood strike
Hollywood
Hollywood producers are keen to avoid strike action
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has taken the first step towards avoiding a strike which could affect film and TV production in Hollywood.

The WGA has agreed to meet with chief executives of major Hollywood studios and TV networks on 22 January to discuss new contracts for its members.

The guild believes its members have not received fair payments for TV shows and films in the booming DVD, video, cable and overseas markets.

Hollywood studios want to avoid the kind of strike action seen in the dispute last year between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the advertising industry.

Strike fears

The existing agreement between the WGA and producers, which covers work performed for major television networks and studios, runs out on 30 June.

This has prompted fears of damaging strike action in the summer, if the guild is not happy with negotiations.

SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) are also threatening separate strike action in the summer, if negotiations with the entertainment industry over film and TV contracts are not concluded favourably.

If all three bodies go on strike, film and TV production could come to an almost complete halt in the US.

Film projects have been pushed forward by studios and some producers and networks have been stockpiling scripts, and speeding up series filming to avoid the effects of a potential halt in production.

'Increasing costs'

The WGA has set a two-week limit on negotiations, increasing fears that if talks fail then strike action would be almost unavoidable.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will be arguing that their profit margins have been reduced because of increasing costs and fragmentation of the entertainment industry.

The last WGA strike, in 1988, lasted five months and delayed the start of the autumn television schedule.

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See also:

18 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Hurley fined for strike-breaking ad
19 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood fears writers' strike
14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Strikers attract star support
12 Sep 00 | Entertainment
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06 Jul 00 | Entertainment
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