US strike action leaves UK film crews without work or income

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The UK film industry’s reliance on US investment has left many crew members without work for the foreseeable future.

Back in May, then again in July we took a look at the impending problems facing the British film industry as first the writers, then the actors in the US voted to go on strike, effectively shutting down a great deal of productions that stem from America. The UK film industry operates as largely as a global film production hub meaning that it relies almost wholly on inward investment, with the majority of that coming from America.

As such, the shutdown in the US was always going to cause problems here in the UK, with other factors such as rocketing business rates and inflation intensifying the looming problems facing the British film industry. The Guardian has published a piece that looks at the human impact of the strike here in the UK, speaking to a range of crew about the impact it is having on their lives and whilst there is clearly a broad streak of support for the ongoing action, there is also a clear recognition that as crew, none of the benefits gained by the strike will be of direct influence to workers who are now finding themselves struggling to pay the bills.

The story also covers another problem facing many workers, that being contracts that bind them into work which is now suspended, leaving them unable to seek employment elsewhere. Spencer MacDonald, secretary of the Bectu trade union states that thousands of crew members in the UK had been suspended from productions, saying: “They’re still under contract but they’re not being paid and can’t work for another employer,” he said. “They need to be released from their contracts or compensated.”

The piece is well worth a read and demonstrates the effect of the ongoing strikes on crew members here in the UK, despite them having no real stake in the ongoing dispute. The state of the UK industry is currently undergoing a governmental review, but given the substantial funds that it normally pours into the treasury as a service-based industry, it’s unlikely that there’ll be any appetite from ministers to consider reshaping things towards a model of self-sufficiency.

Image: BigStock

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