Advertisers attempt to bypass Equity in talks

Advertisers have made their first approach to actors’ representatives to discuss the month-long Equity strike, which showed its first signs of disrupting commercials production this week.

Advertisers have made their first approach to actors’

representatives to discuss the month-long Equity strike, which showed

its first signs of disrupting commercials production this week.



The Advertising Film and Videotape Producers’ Association, the Institute

of Practitioners in Advertising and the Incorporated Society of British

Advertisers have signed a joint letter suggesting meetings on 6 and 7

November with the actors’ agents body, the Personal Managers’

Association.



The request, which bypasses Equity, asks for ’the opportunity of talking

face-to-face about the real issues at stake and hearing your views

direct. A mutual exchange of views can only be to the good and, at the

least, will help us both to understand our respective positions.’



Speaking through Equity, the PMA confirmed it would be happy to attend

the talks, but would leave negotiating any agreement to the union. The

association refuses to put forward any clients for castings.



Martin Brown, an Equity spokesman, said the letter was a sign the strike

was beginning to bite, coming in the same week that the union claimed it

had leafleted casting sessions for Weetabix and Nationwide featuring

non-Equity members.



He said: ’Acting isn’t a closed shop but it is unusual for agencies to

attempt to cast off the streets for ads. One person outside the Weetabix

session told us they had been approached in a pub and another in a

station, which just isn’t normal practice.’



Agencies, however, are bullish. A spokesperson at Lowe Howard-Spink said

the presence of non-Equity members at the Weetabix casting had nothing

to do with the strike and were for roles as extras, which are often cast

using non-union members.