International Film & TV Unions React – Deadline


UPDATE, 1.18am, May 3: The Australian and Canadian film and TV unions have joined the UK’s writers’ guild in telling their writers to down tools on U.S. shows during the strike.

International sources have pointed to the possibility of the Hollywood studios looking to Australian, Canadian and UK writers to pick up U.S. work during the industrial action, but each guild has strongly advised its members against that course of action.

The Australian Writers’ Guild today issued a statement throwing their weight behind the WGA. “The Australian Writers’ Guild supports our fellow writers of the WGA in their current negotiations and in their decision to take strike action,” said the AWG. “The rights and conditions of screenwriters underpin any healthy and vibrant screen industry.

“With strike action now in force, the AWG advises members not to work on active projects within the jurisdiction of the WGA, to pitch new projects designed for production within the jurisdiction of the WGA, or to cross picket lines, actual or virtual, for the duration of the strike.”

In a statement to Deadline, the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) said it will support the WGA during its strike “to the fullest extent possible,” with a new set of rules introduced around the work members of the Canadian guild can undertake during the strike period. 

The list of rules states that dual members of the WGC and the WGA that reside in the U.S. are bound by WGA strike rules. A WGC member and a Canadian resident can continue to work under the Independent Production Agreement (IPA), which remains in force until December 31, 2023. However, members are unable to accept “struck work.” This includes any projects that would normally fall under the WGA. Similarly, dual members of the WGC and the WGA who reside in Canada can continue to work for producers who fall under the IPA. Again, excluding any “struck work.”

“The WGC, along with writers guilds around the world, stands in solidarity with the WGA in their strike action for fair compensation for writers. We hope for a swift and fair resolution,” said Victoria Shen, WGC Executive Director.

Alex Levine, WGC President, added: “The compensation issues that pushed WGA members to strike apply to all writers in the digital streaming age. WGC members support WGA writers in their fight for fairness, and we applaud their strength and collective resolve.”

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain was among the first unions to call on its members to support the WGA and not take on U.S. work earlier this week. Streamers can work with overseas writers on local projects that are not WGA-affiliated — yesterday we revealed Paramount+ had commissioned two UK-based producers to create drama series The Castaways.

PREVIOUS, 11.16am PT, May 2: International unions representing film and TV writers across the world have begun sharing their responses to Hollywood’s first writers strike in 15 years, as WGA members gear up to hit the picket lines.

Thousands of WGA members are set to walk picket lines across Los Angeles, New York and other major U.S. cities Tuesday afternoon after the WGA announced that it was unable to reach a last-minute deal with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new three-year contract to replace the one that expired Monday night.

Giorgio Glaviano, President of the Writers Guild of Italy, told Deadline the union has “followed the negotiations of our American colleagues with great trepidation.”

RELATED: Deadline’s Full Strike Coverage 

“We express our solidarity with colleagues at the WGA, because their struggles are ours too,” Glaviano said. “All over the world, the figure of the screenwriter is threatened by ever tighter wages and increasingly vexatious working conditions.”

Glaviano backed the WGA’s concerns around the use of artificial intelligence, writing that the technology risks making the work of writers “more and more a struggle for survival.” During negotiations with AMPTP, the WGA sought regulation around the use of AI on MBA-covered projects. In response, the studios tabled the introduction of annual meetings “to discuss advancements in technology.”

Glaviano ended the letter: “We will support our American colleagues in every way. Because the only thing that interests us and unites us all as authors is to tell the world, to make emotions live, and to give spectators dreams.”

RELATED: What Went Wrong? Writers & Studios Reveal What They Couldn’t (And Could) Agree On As Strike Is Set

Meanwhile in Israel, the nation that brought Fauda and Shtisel to the world, the Screenwriters Guild of Israel unequivocally backed the WGA.

“SGI writers stand in solidarity with our WGA E/W brothers and sisters and support their fight for the survival of writing as a viable profession,” said a statement on social media this morning. “The SGI stands with all striking WGA E/W members on the picket line and calls upon the AMPTP to be reasonable and pay up.”

Hugh Farley, Director of the Writers’ Guild of Ireland, pointed Deadline toward a statement from WGI Chair Jennifer Davidson issued on April 19.

“The Writers’ Guild of Ireland stands firmly with our colleagues in the WGA in their negotiations for better conditions for their members,” she said. “The issues that they are raising are issues that we face as Irish writers, if not now, then in the near future.”

RELATED: Striking Writers Rally On Social Media; “Don’t Believe The Spin That’s Already Coming Out. We’re Going To Fight”

WGA members “deserve a deal that allows writers to share in the success of the content they create,” Davidson added, pointing to the need for Irish writers to be executive producers on their own shows to ensure they are fairly compensated.

In line with International Affiliation of Writers Guilds agreements, both the Israeli and Irish unions said they would encourage any writer members on U.S. shows to down tools. The Writers Guild of Great Britain has issued a similar directive.

The CEO of the Writers’ Guild of Sweden, Susin Lindblom-Curman, told us that “many of the issues that the Writers Guild of America have raised in their negotiations are relevant also to Swedish and European scriptwriters, and we are grateful that they have chosen to take collective action.”

“This fight will have a great significance for writers being able to support themselves, as well as for writers being able to exert artistic influence. The Writers’ Guild of Sweden wishes to express our full support for our colleges in The Writers’ Guild of America, and we urge our members to show solidarity during the conflict.”

France’s biggest writers’ union and WGA-affiliate La Guilde, representing around professionals 250 film and TV writers, or roughly one-third of the national pool, also voiced its support for the strike action.

“Our position is one of solidarity with WGA and we’re absolutely against anyone breaking the strike,” said the body’s president Marie Roussin.

“We’ve seen a real deterioration in the working conditions for American writers, with rising precariousness and instability, and the introduction of the mini-room, which is destroying a system through which writers used to evolve and build a career.”

She noted, however, that La Guilde could not stop its members or non-members from taking on work based in the U.S., even though its position was against such a move.

“Not all screenwriters in France are members of La Guilde. As individuals, they can do what they like. We hold no sway over their actions. Even for our members, we can’t make them refuse work,” said Roussin.

La Guilde was a signatory last month of France’s first inter-professional accord between, the SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers) and French producer bodies SPI and l’UPSA.

The landmark agreement introduced new guidelines for contracts between screenwriters and the first-ever minimum pay rate structure. “We’re a lot stronger than ever before but we today we could not strike [in France] because not all screenwriters in France are signed up,” said Roussin.

Picket lines will go up at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday at 10 Los Angeles studios from Amazon to Warner Bros, as well as at the Peacock NewFront presentation on 5th Avenue in New York City.

The last WGA work stoppage lasted 14 weeks in 2007-08.

We’ll be updating this story with more international reaction as it comes through.

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