U.K. Industry Bodies, Unions Express Joy and Relief Over SAG-AFTRA Agreement

U.K. Industry Bodies, Unions Express Joy and Relief Over SAG-AFTRA Agreement

With the U.K.’s film and TV industries — so dominated by studios and streamers — having been paralyzed by the SAG-AFTRA strike, it was perhaps understandable that the biggest cheers outside of the U.S. over the tentative deal and end of the 118-day strike were heard across the Atlantic.

“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 U.K. film and TV industry,” said Philippa Childs, head of film and TV union Bectu, representing below-the-line workers.

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“I want to pay tribute to Bectu members for weathering this unprecedented time and showing solidarity to their fellow trade unionists in the U.S,” Childs continued. “It cannot be understated how much U.K. 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.”

It was a recent Bectu report that highlighted the devastating impact of the strikes on U.K. crew. A survey of 4,000 freelancers found that 80 percent had their employment directly affected by the SAG-AFTRA strike, with three-quarters out of work. 

U.K. actors union Equity, which been extremely vocal throughout the strike and arranged various protests in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA, also voiced its delight at the news.

“We’re pleased to hear that our sister union SAG-AFTRA has approved a tentative agreement with the AMPTP and that the strike has been suspended,” it tweeted. “Solidarity with all who stood strong during this action and we wish SAG-AFTRA the best as they deliberate the contents of this deal.”

Adrian Wooden, CEO of the British Film Commission, said the news would bring “relief” to cast, crews and the wider industry.

“We’re thrilled that an equitable agreement on such a complex set of issues was achieved, and we look forward to productions in the U.K. restarting as soon as possible, assuming the final vote on Friday ratifies the deal,” he said. “We also want to recognize that this has been an extremely challenging time for many in the U.K. production community, so this agreement provides a welcome end to a tough period.”