I’ve been saying since the beginning that the stoush over the Hobbit is not over wages,but about a union trying to force people who do not want to be in the union to join it.
The Herald reports:
MEAA national director Simon Whipp said actors could be let go with just one day’s notice, and there were concerns producers would not pay fees in standard union contracts, such as payments from DVD sales.
Sir Peter maintained the residuals on The Hobbit will be worth “very real money” to the Kiwi actors who are cast in the film.
“This is the first time ever NZ actors have had residuals, and we are proud that it’s being introduced on our movie. The level of residuals is better than a similar scheme in Canada, and is much the same as the UK residual scheme. It is not quite as much as the SAG rate.”
So the first ever time NZ actors will be paid residuals.
Sir Peter said fees New Zealand actors were paid favourably here compared to what they would receive overseas. An actor contracted to appear in a small supporting role would receive around NZ$5,000 per week, whereas the Screen Actor’s Guild of America’s published current minimum weekly rates for the same role is NZ$3,800, he said.
Gasp. $5,000 a week for a “small” role. This is the reality of what is being offered, while some idiot is talking about how actors could be paid $1/day and forced to work 24 hours a day.
The New Zealand Actor’s Equity, who operate as an autonomous part of the MEAA, have since acknowledged the Commerce Act prevents a union-negotiated agreement with performers who are independent contractors, following advice from the Attorney General Christopher Finlayson.
“My knowledge of the producers is that they are people of goodwill. I am sure they would want to explore all lawful means by which these issues could be moved forward and resolved.” said NZ Actors’ Equity President Jennifer Ward-Lealand.
Well if there is goodwill, why not get the MEAA to call off the global boycott, which is explicitly linked to what they now acknowledge is an illegal demand?