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
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.’