British Columbia actors reach labor deal

Master Production Agreement includes wage increases

TORONTO -- British Columbia actors have reached a new collective agreement with U.S. and Canadian producers that includes a modest wage increase to reflect hard times.

The new Master Production Agreement was reached between the Union of B.C. Performers, representing around 5000 local actors, the Canadian affiliate of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the B.C. branch of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA), which represents indie Canadian producers.

The new agreement, which leaves new media provisions unchanged and is to run from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2012, awaits ratification.

The UBCP, the AMPTP and the BC-CFTPA are all to recommend acceptance by their respective memberships.

"The new agreement reflects modest wage increases in line with the other performer unions' contracts throughout Canada and the United States, during a period of continued financial uncertainty," the UBCP said in a statement.

The quiet negotiations leading up to Tuesday's agreement contrasts with the last round of B.C. labor talks in 2007 that required a one-year extension of the Master Production Agreement and the intervention of a government-appointed mediator.

Those talks also coincided with a first-ever Canadian actors strike in the rest of Canada by ACTRA, which represents around 21,000 performers outside B.C.

All sides in the just-concluded B.C. talks also pledged to resolve outstanding "administrative" issues and to improve their working relationships.

The negotiations were led by Mercedes Watson for the UBCP, Carol Lombardini for the AMPTP and Tracey Wood for the CFTPA's local B.C. branch.