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Recommendations for screen sector workplace relations unveiled

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DEGNZ

Media release

17 October 2018

A recommended model to allow collective bargaining for contractors in the screen sector has today been unveiled by the Government-convened Film Industry Working Group.

The recommendations, which will now be considered by Government, offer a new path forward for the screen sector, following 2010 law changes to workplace relations in the industry.

“This has been an exercise in collaboration and compromise, and we believe it sets the screen sector on a much stronger footing going forward,” says Group Facilitator Linda Clark.

“The screen industry is unlike any other. The nature of filming means producers require certainty of cost and flexibility of conditions in order to complete a production on time and on budget. Project durations are often fixed, and one worker can be involved in multiple productions during a year.

“The working group is proposing a model that reflects the sector’s uniqueness. It retains parts of the current law, but also allows contractors to bargain collectively and it establishes principles that promote strong, productive relationships. To keep up with current trends, it also applies more appropriately to the overall screen sector, rather than film productions alone.”

The recommendations include:

  • keeping the part of the current law that says film workers are only employees if they have a written employment agreement. This provides the certainty of cost and flexibility of conditions needed in the screen industry.
  • allowing contractors to bargain collectively at an occupation level within the screen industry, such as amongst actors or technicians. The process will be supported by principles, set requirements, and a dispute resolution system. Any resulting collective contracts should apply to all contract work in that occupation.
  • establishing principles that govern relationships in the screen industry, including good faith, protection from bullying, discrimination and harassment, reasonable termination of contracts, and fair rates of pay.
  • applying the model to all screen production work, including film and television, to accurately reflect the industry in New Zealand. The screen sector is increasingly fluid for workers and producers, due to changes in technology and viewing habits. Many workers frequently move between the two, and projects increasingly do not fall neatly into either the ‘film’ or ‘television’ productions.

Ms Clark says the recommendations have the full support of all members of the working group.

“As a sector, the group’s members are committed to a vibrant, strong and world-leading screen industry. All of the members valued the opportunity to work together constructively to develop a model that works for the sector.

“We look forward to the Government’s response.”

The working group’s full recommendations are available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website at https://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/employment-skills/legislation-reviews/film-industry-working-group

The Film Industry Working Group was convened by the Government earlier this year. Its members are:

  • Alex Lee, Film Auckland
  • Alice Shearman, New Zealand Writers Guild
  • Augie Davis, Stunt Guild of New Zealand
  • Barrie Osborne, film producer
  • Brendan Keys, Weta Digital
  • Erina Tamepo, Ngā Aho Whakaari
  • Melissa Ansell-Bridges, Equity New Zealand
  • Michael Brook, Regional Film Offices New Zealand
  • Paul Mackay, BusinessNZ
  • Richard Fletcher, Screen Production and Development Association
  • Richard Wagstaff, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
  • Sioux Macdonald, Screen Industry Guild
  • Tui Ruwhiu, Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand

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For further information, contact:

Linda Clark
Facilitator, Film Industry Working Group
linda.clark@kensingtonswan.com
027 490 7942

Melissa Ansell-Bridges
Director, Equity New Zealand
melissa.ansell-bridges@actorsequity.org.nz
027 360 1980

Richard Fletcher
Co-President, Screen Production and Development Association
richard@libertinepictures.com
021 655 339

Are Your Accounts Giving You a Headache?

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Young Creators: It's Business Time

A workshop for pain relief

There’s nothing worse than wasting time on your accounts.

So don’t.

Natalie Doherty, production accountant on projects including Slow West, Jean and The Shannara Chronicles, will share with you contractor hacks to take the headache out of your administrative paperwork.

In this two-hour workshop Natalie will give you time-saving tips and advice on:

  • dealing with your expenses
  • keeping good records
  • income tax, withholding tax and GST
  • sole Trader vs Company — the pros and cons
  • and more

Learn how to spend more time doing what you want to do and less time doing what you have to in this business-minded Young Creators workshop.

Brought to you by DEGNZ and Women In Film and Television

Young Creators: It’s Business Time

Wed 3 October // 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Horse & Trap
3 Enfield Street, Mt Eden, Auckland

 

Natalie DohertyAbout Natalie Doherty

Natalie has worked in the Film and TV industry as both an accountant and in the sound department worldwide for over 16 years. She is an Associate Chartered Accountant who completed her mentored training at BDO Chartered Accountants and the NZ Film Commission. Natalie also supplies short to medium term furnished accommodation to the Film and TV industry with her husband, Brendan.

 

Booking Info

DEGNZ / WIFT members – Free
Non-members – $25

Registration bookings are essential for members and non-members. For non-members, payment must by made in full prior to the start of the workshop to confirm a booking. We accept payment by credit/debit cards and internet banking/direct credit.

Registration closes Monday 1 October, unless capacity is reached prior.

Refunds: Please email admin@degnz.co.nz if you wish to cancel your booking. You must inform us at least 24 hours before the workshop starts to receive a full refund.

 

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DEGNZ Young Creators is a programme of events with a mission to inform and inspire younger or emerging directors and editors to build successful, sustainable careers in the screen industry.

DEGNZ logo         Young Creators logo

Event Partner

 

 

Fair Pay

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View from the Top banner

On Tuesday the government announced the appointment of former prime minister Jim Bolger to head a 10-person working group that would report back on the design of Fair Pay Agreements.

This is welcome news to me as those of you who have read my blog posts will know—I personally and also as the ED of DEGNZ, have long railed against poor pay in the screen industry, particularly for many directors, especially in the online content area and at Māori Television.

The Fair Pay Agreements that were part of Labour’s manifesto going into the election are workplace laws setting minimum terms and conditions of employment for workers in the same industry or occupation.

I along with a representative group of the screen industry have been grappling with such issues for some months. As the Film Industry Working Group, we are working to respond to Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway’s objectives for the group to restore the rights of film production workers to collectively bargain, in a way that:

  • allows film production workers who wish to continue working as individual contractors to do so;
  • provides certainty to encourages continued investment in New Zealand by providing certainty to film production companies; and
  • maintains competition between businesses offering film production services to promote a vibrant, strong and world-leading film industry.

The Government’s intentions with the Fair Pay Agreement is, quoting from a Stuff article, “to lift pay and conditions by preventing a ‘race to the bottom’ by preventing employers from competing with each other by lowering wages.”

This is exactly the situation we have been faced with for directors in the screen industry and one the Guild has long sought to address.

Bringing Bolger in to head the panel is both ironic and considered a Labour masterstroke. It was Bolger’s government that introduced the Employment Relations Act that was considered damaging to workplace relations and, according to Economist Brian Easton, advantaged employers over workers, did nothing to raise productivity, and had next to no impact in raising real wages. See The Spinoff article here).

There is obvious concern from employers and businesses about what the Fair Pay Agreements will mean, but there does seem to be an understanding on their parts that a rebalancing is required—a sentiment that is also gaining traction with some producers and production companies in the screen industry.

National certainly seems to have come to the party… with a party, or more accurate with a concert—a benefit concert—in a spoof from the Spinoff—a cynical send up I’d welcome if it were true because the disadvantaged do need help.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director