Film and TV industry defends jobs policy
SCREEN Producers Ireland has defended employment practices in film and television, saying most work opportunities must be offered project by project.
Chief executive Elaine Geraghty told the Oireachtas Budgetary Oversight Committee that TV, film and animation companies in Ireland employ 7,070 "full-time equivalents". But, when questioned by deputies, Ms Geraghty said this figure meant sourcing talent from a much larger pool.
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Stephen Rooke, managing director of Tile Films, told the committee his Dún Laoghaire-based firm had 10 full-time staff but would employ up to 250 when producing a project.
"Companies don't get beyond a certain size when they're not in production," Mr Rooke said.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett accused the film and TV industry of failing to provide secure salaries and benefits to the bulk of its workforce. He criticised its use of designated activity companies (DACs) as hiring vehicles for individual productions.
"The employers hide behind a DAC, which is an accountancy tool, not a company," said Mr Boyd Barrett, who described most production firms in Ireland as "micro-companies where almost nobody has secure employment".
Ms Geraghty said the deputy was not being realistic in calling for full-time employment contracts that carried over from project to project.
"Yes, it's project by project, but what we want to do is create as many projects as possible, to offer work 365 days a year," Ms Geraghty said.
But taking on permanent staff for individual projects, she said, "can never work".