Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Friday, 20 February 2009

'Final offer' to US actors' union

Screen Actors Guild star in Hollywood's Hall of Fame
Strike action by the Screen Actors Guild now looks unlikely

Hollywood's major studios have offered their "last, best and final offer" to the largest US actors' union, in a bid to end a long-running dispute over pay.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said it had made six concessions to "sweeten the final offer" made to the Screen Actors Guild.

The proposal came as the two sides ended three days of contract talks without a deal in place.

Producers said SAG has 60 days to accept the new three-year contract.

After those 60 days, AMPTP said they reserved the right to withdraw or amend the proposal.

"The terms in the offer are the best we can or will offer, in light of the five other major industry labour deals negotiated over the past year and the extraordinary economic crisis gripping the world economy," the AMPTP said.

SAG declined to comment. Union leaders are expected to present the offer to its national governing board this weekend.

Date dispute

The threat of strike action has been hanging over Hollywood since the last contract with SAG ran out in June 2008.

The union, which has 120,000 members, has been objecting to plans to make one-off, not residual payments, to actors for made-for-internet shows.

Reports from the recent talks suggest progress has been made over how actors would be paid for work distributed on the internet.

However, there is now contention over when a new contract would take effect.

Producers want the three-year contract to start when it is signed, but SAG - in keeping with past practice - want the contract to begin when the last one expired.

By taking the start date back to 1 July 2008, the contract would expire at a similar time to those of the writers' and directors' guilds, thereby increasing the union's bargaining power in 2011.

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