Council of Trade Unions media release
27 September 2010
Hobbit Should Meet Minimum Standards
Production and filming of the Hobbit should meet minimum standards, said CTU President Helen Kelly today.
“While there may be legal issues to work through, these are not an impediment to an agreement for standards to be reached with the union,” she said.
Helen Kelly said that it is good to have international support for workers, including performers, in this industry and it is totally unjustified to describe the union assistance from Australia as ‘bullying’.
“After all, in a globalised economy, we are used to multinational companies operating here, and it is quite legitimate for NZ Actors' Equity to operate as a fully autonomous section of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance.”
“This industry gets very significant tax breaks from the New Zealand Government and needs to address all industry issues including health and safety and the problem of non-union contracts which provide no minimum guarantees of wages or working conditions, no residual payments and no cancellation payments in the event the performer’s contract is cancelled.”
“Our discussions with NZ Actors’ Equity indicate that they have obtained legal advice that there are a variety of lawful means which could be used to establish the minimum wages, working conditions and residuals for performers on the production. A copy of this advice has been provided to the lawyers for the producer but at this stage there is a refusal to negotiate.”
Helen Kelly said that it is important for the producers to get involved in a solution to this issue rather than simply threaten to remove the film from New Zealand because of a debate about minimum standards that should apply.