Actors Equity have posted their Australian counterparts minimum standards document.
Some of the outrageous clauses that would surely cripple the industry here include:
The Producer or his/her representative may not direct the Artist to smoke or appear to be smoking except where such a request has been previously discussed with the Artist and expressly stated in the Artist’s contract or the separate written consent of the Artist has been obtained, and the Producer may not, for publicity purposes use stills of the Artist appearing in such scenes.
Where the Artist is required to make him/herself available for publicity and/or promotion work outside his/her normal working hours s/he shall be paid at the rate of the BNF with a minimum Call of two and one half hours.
(a) The ordinary hours of work shall be based on eight hours per day exclusive of a meal break to be worked continuously between the hours of 6.30am and 11.00pm on five days of the week Monday to Saturday.
(b) All meal breaks other than tea breaks shall be in the Artist’s time. Tea breaks shall be counted as time worked.
There’s plenty more pretty basic stuff in there and I’d recommend you take a look. If this is the kind of stuff Actors Equity is after then it seems pretty odd that the producers were so dead set against meeting. I’ve heard the argument that that’s all in the pink book but the deal with the pink book is is sets guidelines. There’s not a legal or enforceable clause in the whole thing. It’s kind of like letting workers have input to company policy that is applied entirely at their managers’ discretion.
While we’re on the topic, I’d like to point out that it is truly astounding that John Key has offered to get involved in this dispute. Especially after his Minister for the Arts basically sided with the employer. I can’t imagine how worked up the right would have got if Helen Clark had offered to intervene in an industrial dispute after implicitly backing the union involved.
In fact just last year the Prime Minister was asked about the government’s involvement in the Telecom/EPMU dispute which concerned a significantly more important matter than a single film – the terms and conditions of hundreds of telco lines workers. He answered (via Tony Ryall):
The Prime Minister is advised that this is an issue of contracts between private companies, and it is not appropriate for the Government to intervene.
So Key seems to think that hundreds of skilled telco workers getting their livelihoods ripped off them in a way that endangers our telecommunications infrastructure is an issue of contracts between private companies but he needs to step in when a few actors dare to ask for some basic minimum standards?
What a disgrace.