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Oz thesps say blurb strike likely

SPAA ends offshore-sourced ad coverage

SYDNEY — Australian actors are warning that a strike to close down the production of all commercials in Oz is increasingly likely.

The Screen Producers Assn. of Australia has ended an agreement covering thesps in offshore-sourced commercials, chiefly from the U.S., effective Dec. 12, despite attempts by the actors guild to reach a new agreement.

SPAA said the agreement does not make business sense as it entails paying talent for each engagement; offshore clients want to film many performers but pay only those who make the final cut.

“Australian performers are disappointed with SPAA’s aggressive act, but we will not negotiate with a gun to our head,” said Simon Whipp, director of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

“We have met a number of producers outside of negotiations with SPAA and have agreed to consider a range of concessions that they independently put to us,” he added.

SPAA rejected MEAA’s alternative proposal. “As a result, performers are left with few options but to withdraw their labor and take industrial action,” Whipp said.

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