EDITORIAL: Jaw-jaw only way out of war-war in Equity strike

The Equity dispute has spiralled out of control. What began as a well-intentioned attempt to save money on the ever more ridiculous cost of making TV commercials has evolved into a full-scale strike by Equity members, threatening several high-profile advertising campaigns.

The Equity dispute has spiralled out of control. What began as a

well-intentioned attempt to save money on the ever more ridiculous cost

of making TV commercials has evolved into a full-scale strike by Equity

members, threatening several high-profile advertising campaigns.



Many neutrals might agree that the cost of voiceovers, including repeat

fees, is too high, but most would also understand why the suggestion of

a 60 per cent reduction at one go is wholly unacceptable. It would be

hypocritical of Campaign not to support attempts to reduce the base

costs of commercials production, but this does appear a heavy-handed way

of approaching the issue.



As the effects of Equity’s predictable intransigence have begun to bite,

cracks have emerged in the industry’s united stance. First, the other

members of the Joint Equity Negotiating Group expel the Advertising Film

and Videotape Producers Association for breaking ranks, being more

conciliatory, and urging ACAS arbitration. Then several production

companies mutter darkly about setting up a rival to the AFVPA. Now,

there appears to be mounting disquiet among some ad agencies about the

way the affair has been handled.



As ever, most of the criticism is in private, which makes it difficult

to endorse publicly. The gist of it is that some agency heads, looking

on in alarm as top stars begin pulling out of ads, are starting to

question the credentials of the people conducting negotiations at the

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and the Incorporated Society

of British Advertisers. What do they know about life at the coal-face,

say the critics.



To resolve this dispute to everyone’s satisfaction, ad agency bosses

will have to get involved. The alternative is an escalation into ever

more intractable positions. It is essential that someone be prepared to

compromise in order to get back round the table before the situation

gets worse. How about dropping any preconditions?



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