Directors Guild of Canada B.C. District Council issues strike notice

It's been without a contract for more than a year—and talks broke down shortly after inflation in Canada hit a 31-year high

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      The union representing B.C. directors is getting closer to walking off movie sets across the province.

      The Directors Guild of Canada B.C. District Council issued 72 hours' strike notice to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Canadian Media Producers Association–B.C. after they failed to reach an agreement during contract talks on April 25.

      The union said that productions with safe-harbour agreements will not experience labour action.

      However, the union also vowed that no new safe-harbour agreements will be negotiated with producers. And 72 hours' after strike notice has been issued, any production without one of these side deals could face a walkout.

      The DGC B.C. is demanding minimum-wage differentials for its members. This means that as the minimum wage rises, there would be corresponding pay increases for its lower-paid members.

      In addition, the union is seeking retroactivity of wage increases to the expiry of the last collective agreements, as well as payment terms for COVID testing.

      The DGC B.C. objects to what it says are the negotiating producers' demands for concessions.

      Earlier this month, members voted 92.2 percent in favour of giving the union a strike mandate. The union's collective agreement expired on March 31, 2021.

      The DGC B.C. is one of several B.C. film unions.

      There's a separate B.C. Council of Film Unions comprised of IATSE Local 891, Teamsters Local Union 155, and International Cinematographers Guild Local 669. Its master agreement also expired on March 31, 2021.

      The uncertainty around contracts comes as inflation has taken hold in Canada, hitting a 31-year high in March. On a year-over-year basis, prices went up 6.7 percent, according to Statistics Canada, whereas food prices rose over the same period by 8.7 percent.

      UBCP/ACTRA represents performers. On April 26, the Association of Canadian Advertisers and ACTRA reached an agreement that provided an as-yet undisclosed pay increase.

      “The bottom line is that the advertising agencies that our members hire to produce our commercials will be able do so without disruption. We will achieve this through this agreement, administered by the ACA,” ACA president Ron Lund said in a news release.

      A list of what's being currently filmed in B.C. is available on the UBCP/ACTRA website.