Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Anatomy of a Shambles

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  • giovanni tiso,

    Comparing a union's action with civil war is totally going to get people to sit down and calmly sort this out. We're all set.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    The depiction of Spada as the face of the evil boss class actually bothered me.

    Can I just suggest that what always happens in NZ, is that we kiwis like the principle of no.8 fence wire. Can do. This attitude allows us to believe others will understand what we mean. Trouble is, each party has worked out how to deal in this industry cos that's what we do. No.8 fence wire. There is nothing collective about this . The film industry is made up of individuals.At times it feels a bit back stabby because every person in that industry is vying for the same jobs. At times it really feels like it's who you know because it is a small industry.I think this issue of Actors wanting a collective understanding is not realizing that others in the industry had figured that out ages ago. Like doh! this is NZ. In general, I reckon actors have a pretty good job. It's not perfect, and I understand the desire to get on par with similar.The thing is, many in this industry figured that out,and became self employed, which has given them a kiwi lifestyle that works. Then as usual, the actors show up last, and expect others to understand. It was already sorted by every other department ,it's called self employed contractors. Covers the lot.
    Shame.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Something that has been bothering me without me realising it:

    Why is Robyn Malcolm being a spokesperson for Equity? She's not on the committee, according to their website (or is that more administrative oversight) but I may have missed an election. I noted that several media bodies are referring to her as an "Equity Committee member" but I can't find any evidence of that. Can anyone oblige?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Starless and Bilbo Black . . .
    The Return of the Crimson King, too?

    "To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black."
    - Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood, page 1, line 1.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    In response to:

    "I'm a member of a CTU affiliated union and I don't think anything of what you've said here applies. Our executive members are unpaid, we vote before employment negotiations about our claims".

    Meetings of the executive are not a meeting of the union. The problem got out of hand with the black listing, The question I have is was this a course of action that the members of the union sought from the floor or was it an initiative taken by the executive with no reference to the members – was a meeting held and a resolution voted on by the membership to blacklist the Hobbit.

    The negotiation of new terms and conditions could have been arranged by the parties to the dispute as a set of terms and conditions for an employment contract (to be signed by individuals for the term of the projects they worked on) that could have gained industry wide acceptance and had grass roots input from the membership provided they were consulted. The union acting as the bargaining agent on behalf of it’s members.

    The arrangement above would be more flexible and more suitable; to the industry and would not be a collective employment agreement. If the situation is to be resolved this is perhaps the path along which the matter needs to progress.

    The problem with a collective employment agreement is that for the term they are in force there is no industrial action; the right to withdraw your labour if things are going badly for you is lost for the term of the collective. During the term of the collective you are in a weaker position.

    There is a need to go back to square one and start again, with better consultation and communication, if that is at all possible.

    IMHO The direction for NZAE needs to come from the floor and not the executive being lead or advised by the CTU.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    *sigh*

    dream jobs damaged

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    Shall we talk about my American friend who likes to keep the insides of her coffee cups nice and white by bleaching them?

    Pfft, my auntie does that, and she lives in Hawera.

    I'm pro rinsing. It's not just detergent that can end up on the dishes, it's everything else in your wash water too.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    First time poster, long time reader..

    Quite frankly your takes on this dispute really disgust me.

    All the actors and film workers want is the security and conditions that come with paid employment, I really dont see that is too much to ask.

    Yes, there are some people who are happy as contractors, but not everyone wants that. Some people want a decent wage, breaks, sick leave and holiday entitlements, and they want to know that ACC is going to cover them if they get injured, like every other job in this country.

    And I dont really see how the 'mexicans with cellphones' model of the film industry in this country is in any way beneficial. Shouldnt we all be entitled to some form of economic security, and to be treated with respect and dignity?

    Ive tried being self employed and freelancing, etc,and I didnt like it. I decided that I would rather be an employee instead. Why should we deny that choice to some people because it is the film industry?

    Quite frankly its Peter Jackson being unreasonable here. He really needs to pull his finger out and pay his film workers a decent wage and give them decent conditions, he can most certainly afford it. This low wage low conditions low job security model will only run down our living standards, and I think everyone needs to hand their heads in shame because of that.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    And another thing, I love the LOTR trilogy, and it saddens me that those people who made those brilliant backdrop were paid less than the minimum wage

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Well, well. Divide and rule, eh? A angry mob of technicians march on the union HQ. A bunch of self-centred and self-interested actors want to split from Actors Equity. Solidarity is clearly something that happened in Poland.

    And lo! The government may take the opportunity to further strip rights from all NZ workers.

    No class war? Useful idiots indeed.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • hamishm,

    Now Brownlee says that they will change the Employment laws so that Warner's can get what they want.
    Welcome to Somebody Else's Country, folks.

    Since Nov 2006 • 357 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Quite frankly its Peter Jackson being unreasonable here. He really needs to pull his finger out and pay his film workers a decent wage and give them decent conditions, he can most certainly afford it.

    Brendon, I hate to do this on your first foray into the discussions here: but you don't know what you're talking about.

    The contracts on The Hobbit were going to be the best New Zealand actors have ever received on any production in this country.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Now Brownlee says that they will change the Employment laws so that Warner's can get what they want.

    Welcome to Somebody Else's Country, folks.

    I don't even understand what he thinks he can do, frankly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    No class war? Useful idiots indeed.

    Tom, your habitual contempt for those who do not share your views has never been as evident as it is now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I don't even understand what he thinks he can do, frankly.

    He haz teh powah, dude!

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The question I have is was this a course of action that the members of the union sought from the floor or was it an initiative taken by the executive with no reference to the members – was a meeting held and a resolution voted on by the membership to blacklist the Hobbit.

    The former. The global boycott was enacted without a meeting or a vote from New Zealand members.

    It was authorised by the Australian MEAA executive Simon Whipp and it's unclear how many NZ Equity members even knew about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    It's all about the money!

    Exchange rate, tax breaks, residuals for the first time ever (yeah right).

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    I fear this issue, and the potentially catastrophic loss of economic multipliers, will be well beyond the limited political management abilities of Key, English & Brownlee.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    English - this morning

    He said it was possible Warner Bros was using the industrial dispute to push an agenda for more tax breaks, which are estimated to be worth $50 million to $60 million.

    Last night on Close Up Brownlee downplayed tax breaks - it was all about employment issues. He was a tad hesitant when an unusually assertive Sainsbury questioned him on this.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • SodaPop,

    Brendon - I too am a first time poster and your comments have spurred me to write. Ignorant comments such as these are hugely harmful.

    I am a self employed contractor contracted to 3foot7 and have been employed on the hobbit for over a year. I enjoy very good wages, great working conditions and am eligible for ACC. I just want to be able to get on with my job and make films.

    The past year has been difficult with a lot of uncertainty over the project and the past month has been extremely tough, as we have effectively had our hands tied and not been allowed to properly do our jobs as the studios can not approve more cash flow while the boycott was in place. Throughout all this uncertainty 3foot7 have continued to pay and retain us, because they are loyal to us and realise that we have mortgages to pay, families to support etc. I am extremely grateful to them for this.

    The "mexicans with cellphones" comments also angers me and is very outdated. The mexican film industry is extremely strong and I have worked with a number of highly skilled mexican film crew members. Guillermo del Toro is Mexican, as is Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. I would love the NZ film industry to get to a similar position of strength. The reality is that films will get made where it is most cost efficient. I have worked in Australia and most of my colleagues there have had to change professions as there has been almost no work there in the last 7 years. Justice League and Green Lantern were lost due to union action. Mad max has just been put on hold. Fox Studios in Sydney have basically been sitting empty. We would much rather be in work and make decent money, than be employees and work once every 5 years and get holiday pay. Our wages are still internationally competitive.

    Its also telling that most who think PJ is being unreasonable or greedy dont actually hail from Wellington. Come visit Miramar and speak to the multitude of people he employs and allows to practice the craft and artistry they love!

    Since Oct 2010 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    anything else that evaporates, after being diluted 200:1, left a completely unnoticeable residue

    Yes, well really what did you expect. After all, you didn't hit the sink with a leather bladder seven times to potentise the water (or whatever it is homeopathy does).

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    You gotta see the big picture SodaPop. Sure, this union action might cost you your job and you might have to leave the country or find another career, but you'll be a martyr in the glorious war of Labour vs Capital. You should be honoured to have the bank foreclose on your house in the name of dialectic materialism.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Deep joy! Oh yes...

    "To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black."
    - Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood, page 1, line 1.

    I know, I was just getting all "almost bottomless sunbathing"* on y'all and alluding to the King Crimson Album of the same name also...

    Under Milk Wood is fabulous reading ain't it?
    There has to be a Stanley Unwin version out there
    - I so hear his voice falollopping through this ribbage of almost thru dimensional wordage...


    *tangenital (er, ok then, tangential...)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    but you'll be a martyr in the glorious war of Labour vs Capital.

    From that Chris Trotter blog post:

    AND WHAT A COINCIDENCE (if coincidence it was) that Jackson’s vicious display of anti-union fury should occur within 24 hours of 22,000 workers turning out to demonstrate their opposition to the National Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill.

    Trotter's lost the plot, hasn't he?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • SodaPop,

    Ha! Fingers crossed for canonisation.

    Since Oct 2010 • 4 posts Report Reply

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