Australian actors threaten ad strike

Asks for SPAA to reinstate employment contract

SYDNEY — Australian actors are threatening to stop work on commercials intended for foreign markets if the Screen Producers’ Assn. of Australia does not reinstate its employment contract.

In June SPAA announced it would terminate the agreement Aug. 7, without any prior warning or consultation. Equity, the actors’ division of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union, demanded meetings about the decision to no avail.

Now it is recommending its members refuse to appear in such ads from Aug. 7.

“Strike action is never something we take lightly, but we have been left with little choice,” said Equity federal president Simon Burke. In a ballot, some 98% of members supported the action.

Television commercials produced for TV consumption outside Australia are worth about A$200 million ($164 million) a year and comprise 10% of the production industry.

Producers claim the high costs of shooting in Australia mean they can no longer compete with other countries in the commercials business.

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