January 08, 2007

ACTRA Strikes


ACTRA went on strike as of today, in four Provinces. Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. ACTRA will be on strike in the rest of the country shortly, except British Columbia which is under a separate agreement.

According ACTRA's president, Richard Hardacre "Our members are being told now that they cannot report for work, unless they're working for producers who have been engaged with ACTRA on an interim agreement." He added "Regretfully, ACTRA has begun the first strike ever in our 64-year history."

Wages have been one issue. ACTRA says its members make more than 30 per cent less than their U.S. counterparts, and is calling for a wage increase spread out over the next few years to catch up.

The major stumbling block though seems to be producer that don't want to pay workers for new media, such as cell phone and internet use. Canadian actor Wendy Crewson said, "Professional performers don't work for free. Not on TV. Not on film. And not on the internet."

Last week, the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association vowed to take ACTRA to court if a strike occurred, and said it would seek a court order to force actors back to work.