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Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Equity threatens strike action
Greta Scacchi
Equity says it has the support of Greta Scacchi
Actors' union Equity has threatened industrial action "as a last resort" if talks later with producers this week on better pay and conditions fail.

The dispute mirrors talks in the US between the Screen Actors Guild and producers who are trying to work out a new pay deal for actors.


If these talks fail, Equity is bound to consider escalating the dispute

Union statement
"The cream of British talent has sent a stark message to UK film producers - pay us properly or face a dispute," said a statement from Equity, which represents 36,000 members.

The union says it has the backing of stars such as Greta Scacchi and Julie Walters.

Advance

Equity and the Producers' Alliance for Cinema and Television are due to start talks on Friday, where actors will demand a bigger slice of profits from movies, as well as proceeds from video sales and TV screenings.

"If these talks fail, Equity is bound to consider escalating the dispute," Equity said in a statement.

Union spokesman Martin Brown said that a strike by performers would be a last resort, but remained a possibility.

British actors are paid a flat fee in advance for television broadcasts of films and for video and DVD sales but they nothing extra if a film is a success at the box office.

Mr Brown said Equity was not optimistic of resolving the impasse after the last round of negotiations with film producers failed in March.

"There have been no indications between March and now that the producers have changed their minds," he said.

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