UK unions welcome deal to end actors’ strike after ‘incredibly difficult period’

UK unions welcome deal to end actors’ strike after ‘incredibly difficult period’

The end of the strike by US actors’ union Sag-Aftra comes after “an incredibly difficult period” for union members in the UK and “the whole UK film and TV industry”, creative industries trade union Bectu has said.

Sag-Aftra has reached a “tentative agreement” with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers (AMPTP) bringing to an end an historic 118-day walkout.

The strike, which has caused major disruption to Hollywood productions since it began on July 14, ended at 8.01am GMT on Thursday.

Philippa Childs, head of Bectu, said: “We congratulate our Sag-Aftra colleagues on their determination in holding out for a deal that meets their objectives.

“We wholeheartedly welcome this news after what has been an incredibly difficult period for our members, and the whole UK film and TV industry.

“I want to pay tribute to Bectu members for weathering this unprecedented time and showing solidarity to their fellow trade unionists in the US.

“It cannot be understated how much UK film and TV workers have suffered at the hands of the AMPTP’s failure to reach an acceptable agreement with Sag-Aftra.

“This news will come as a huge relief and provide some hope after months and months of instability.

“Our members are highly skilled, talented professionals and the backbone of our film and TV sector, and we look forward to them getting back to work as soon as possible.”

Full details of the deal will not be announced until the tentative agreement is reviewed by the Sag-Aftra national board on Friday.

But a statement from the union said it had achieved a deal of “extraordinary scope” in a contract “valued at over one billion dollars”, including protection from the threat of artificial intelligence and “unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation”.

It continued: “We have arrived at a contract that will enable Sag-Aftra members from every category to build sustainable careers, many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work.”

UK actors’ union Equity also welcomed the end of the strike, saying in a statement on Twitter, now known as X: “We’re pleased to hear that our sister union @sagaftra has approved a tentative agreement with the AMPTP and that the strike has been suspended.

“Solidarity with all who stood strong during this action and we wish @sagaftra the best as they deliberate the contents of this deal.”

The deal comes after the union, which represents around 160,000 members of the industry, spent days deliberating over several items it deemed “essential”, including artificial intelligence.

Striking Sag-Aftra members choose signs for a picket line outside Netflix studios in Los Angeles
The strike ended at 8.01am GMT on Thursday (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Hollywood has been at a near-standstill for months following both the actors’ and writers’ strikes.

In September, the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which represents more than 11,000 members, agreed to a deal with studio bosses after 146 days on the picket line over issues of pay and the threat of artificial intelligence.

Sag-Aftra added: “We also thank our union siblings — the workers that power this industry — for the sacrifices they have made while supporting our strike and that of the Writers Guild of America. We stand together in solidarity and will be there for you when you need us.

“Thank you all for your dedication, your commitment and your solidarity throughout this strike. It is because of YOU that these improvements became possible.”