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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Actors' strike talks deadline looms
Screen Actors' Guild negotiator Brian Walton
SAG's Brian Walton is negotiating on behalf of actors
Hollywood actors and producers have stepped up their efforts to avert a strike by spending all weekend in contract negotiations ahead of their 30 June deadline.

Most observers had expected actors unions to accept a new deal for their 135,000 members before the deadline, when their current contracts run out.

The two sides had only met 15 times since 15 May - but have now said they will stay in intensive talks until an agreement is reached.

Neither side is revealing details of demands or progress while the talks are still ongoing.

Threat

But it is thought that actors are demanding more money for work that is repeated or re-sold, appears on the internet or is shown on interactive TV services.

The threat of a walk-out has meant studios have been reluctant to start new projects - hitting workers like electricians and camera operators, according to Variety Magazine.

Some sectors have seen work cut by 50%, they reported.

An actor picketing the premiere of Liz Hurley's Bedazzled
Liz Hurley angered actors during last year's strike
Hollywood writers narrowly avoided a potentially crippling walk-out in May, when they reached a last-minute deal with producers over similar issues.

That deal could provide a blueprint for the current negotiations and make it easier to reach a settlement.

Actors are represented by the Screen Actors' Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), while the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) is negotiating for the producers.

Before negotiations started, SAG negotiators said they would be fighting for the majority of its members who struggle to earn a decent living.

Chief negotiator Brian Walton said: "We're here to speak for the majority of working-class actors."

Rely on repeats

At least half its 135,000 members were out of work in any given year, he said.

About half earn between $30,000 (21,000) and $70,000 (49,000) per year and rely on residual payments from TV and movie repeats.

The unions also want studios to limit the number of productions filmed outside Southern California.

Analysts say actors want to avoid a repeat of last year's six-month walkout against advertisers over repeat fees.

It was one of the longest strikes in Hollywood history, and centred on "pay-for-play" residuals - the extra money paid to actors each time their commercial is broadcast.

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See also:

14 Jun 01 | Film
Actors' strike talks continue
15 May 01 | Film
Actors and studios open talks
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