Equity agrees to new talks over ads dispute

The prospects of a settlement in the ad industry’s dispute with Equity, which has dogged commercials making in the UK for 13 months, have risen with the announcement of fresh talks to break the stalemate.

The prospects of a settlement in the ad industry’s dispute with

Equity, which has dogged commercials making in the UK for 13 months,

have risen with the announcement of fresh talks to break the

stalemate.



The news comes after a marathon stand-off between the actors’ union on

one side and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and the

Incorporated Society of British Advertisers on the other.



A statement issued by the two sides on Tuesday evening said they had

’agreed to meet to explore whether or not grounds exist on which further

progress in negotiating a new agreement might be made’.



The announcement went on to say that the meeting ’will take place as

soon as possible but no date has yet been fixed’.



Equity’s approach to employers to re-open talks follows a note to

members from Ian McGarry, the union’s general secretary, telling them

they could accept work under the terms of an expired 1991 agreement

(Campaign, 12 June).



The latest moves are part of an effort to bring an end to the

confrontation, which began over voiceover fees but escalated into a

boycott of commercials production by all Equity members.



The union took action over what it claimed were employers’ proposals

that would cut voiceover artists’ earnings by up to two-thirds.



Equity sources say the boycott was necessary because the union feared

agencies and advertisers would attempt to peg back fees for vision

artists once the voiceover battle had been won.



Employers deny this was the intention and the union concedes that

voiceover fees have already dropped significantly during the past 18

months. It also claims that the 1991 terms, currently being offered to

voiceover as well as vision artists, enable employers to peg voiceover

fees by up to 50 per cent.



Equity’s peace overtures are thought to have been prompted by concerns

that a new agreement was looking increasingly unlikely with many

employers starting to question the need for one as they found ways of

working around the boycott.



But IPA sources were this week warning against over expectations. ’Both

sides are being cautious,’ one said.



’The danger is that we have a major bust-up as soon as formal

negotiations resume. Equity has to realise that the game has moved on

and that any new agreement will have to be more flexible than the last.’



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