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The British and Canadian writers’ unions are demonstrating solidarity with their American counterpart as the threat of a potential strike looms.
The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain advised their members on Wednesday “not to work on projects within the jurisdiction of the WGA for the duration of the strike” if the American writers do mount a work stoppage. “The WGGB support the WGA in their ongoing negotiations,” the union added in its statement.
When reached by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, the Writers Guild of Canada stated that it would issue a similar recommendation to its members later in the week. “In the unfortunate event of a WGA strike, WGC members will not accept work that is normally within the jurisdiction of the WGA; for example, US-based productions and productions that are already under a WGA contract,” WGC executive director Victoria Shen said in a statement. She added that members of the WGA are “our closest colleagues” and “we respect each others’ jurisdiction and support one another in advancing the rights of screenwriters around the world.”
The WGA, WGC and the WGGB are all members of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds, a consortium of writers’ guilds that offer each other support and resources.
It is widely expected that if American writers do decide to go on strike following the expiration of their contract on May 1, the stoppage could lead to an increase in demand for international content. The last WGA strike especially led to an uptick in mid-season pickups for Canadian shows for U.S. networks, as The Hollywood Reporter has previously reported.
The unions’ statements arrive a day after WGA members began voting to authorize a strike. If the majority of members do vote in favor of a strike authorization, that does not mean a strike will occur; instead, it gives the union the option to call a strike if their discussions with employers go sideways. The vote also gauges WGA members’ willingness to go out on strike. A potential strike could only begin after the WGA’s current contract expires on May 1.
The WGA began negotiations with studios and streamers (represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP) on March 20 and have had stop-and-start talks with their employers ever since. The union is seeking to significantly boost writer compensation in this round of bargaining as, it claims, middle-class writers’ ability to make a living has been significantly eroded in the streaming era amid the rise of short seasons and so-called “mini-rooms” as well as the dwindling of residuals.
The WGGB bargains on behalf of a large swathe of writers working in the U.K., including novelists, video game writers and playwrights in addition to film and television writers. The WGC, meanwhile, represents writers working in film, television and on webseries in collective bargaining
April 12, 12:56 p.m. Updated to include a statement from the Writers Guild of Canada.
Etan Vlessing contributed reporting.
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