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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Talks urged in actors' strike
Elliott Gould
Elliott Gould is among a number of stars supporting the strike
Federal mediators in the US are stepping in to try and end a 10-week strike by actors against advertisers over residual payments for commercials.

Representatives of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service are urging the two sides of the dispute to start talks in New York at the end of the month.

If they are successful, it could mean a light at the end of the tunnel in the argument that has raged between more than 130,000 actors and advertisers since 1 May.

The striking actors are members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federations of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).

These actors receive "residual" payments each time one of their commercials goes out on network TV.

They went on strike after advertisers refused their demands to have the "pay-per-play" system extended to cable TV.

Victories

Advertisers want to maintain the current procedure of paying actors a lump sum when the ads are made for cable TV.

Ira Shephard, one of the lead negotiators for the advertisers confirmed: "The mediator has asked the [advertisers'] side if the 20 or 21 July would be good dates and we have said 'yes'."


striking actors
Actors claim that their action is having a bad effect on ad production

However, he added that "there's no guarantee" that any new breakthrough would come of the talks.

A spokesman for the SAG also confirmed that talks were being encouraged on those dates, describing their nature as "a resumption of full negotiations".

Since the actors first took industrial action, their dispute with advertisers has become increasingly contentious.

Each side has claimed a succession of small victories in terms of the numbers of ads being made and the quality of the productions.

In addition, the strikers have claimed the high-profile support of some of their profession's biggest stars, including Richard Dreyfuss and William Baldwin and Elliott Gould.

Golfing hero Tiger Woods has also expressed his sympathy.

The strike is the first major Hollywood walkout in 12 years. Several attempts by federal mediators to start negotiations between the two sides have failed.

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See also:

03 May 00 | Entertainment
Tiger backs striking actors
14 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Stars support actors' dispute
02 May 00 | Entertainment
US actors strike over fees
22 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Sports stars break Hollywood strike
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