Film technicians on strike
by Fabien Lemercier
Today marks the beginning of a four-day strike by French film technicians in a protest that has been called by three film and audiovisual production technician trade unions.
The reason for the strike is the extremely difficult renegotiation of the sector’s obsolete collective agreement, which has been under discussion with producers under the supervision of the Minister of Employment for several months now. The agreement – which dates back to the 1950s – sets minimum salaries that are very rarely applied, thus obliging almost the entire sector to work illegally.
Denouncing the disproportional character of calls for strike, five producers organisations have released a joint statement detailing their positions. The APC (Film Producers Association), API (Association of Independent Producers), SPI (Independent Producers Union), UPF (Film Producers Union) and AFPF (French Association for Film and Producers and Audiovisual Programmes) have also stated having accepted the application of the rates of pay for the 39-hour working week from June 8 and rejected the principle of a 48-hour week, referring to their agreement for a re-evaluation of low salaries and reaffirming the necessary recognition of poorly financed productions, which represent a significant share of employment in the sector.
Producers are also calling for a definition of the conditions governing the calculation of working hours and of overtime, practiced in accordance with the measures stated in the “Code du Travail”. Lastly, they would like to see a meeting between all cinema bodies, who would provide an overview of the realities in the sector, developed under the aegis of the government.
All participating groups will meet today at the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), who will attempt to find a solution to the dispute.
(Translated from French)
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