Thursday 5 December 2019

TDs hear film crews that object to long hours are blacklisted

Denise Walker, GMB Ireland Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Denise Walker, GMB Ireland Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Film crews are being asked to work up to 66 hours a week while workers who try to stand up for their rights are being blacklisted, it has been claimed.

Representatives of film crew, including set designers and drivers, appeared at the Oireachtas Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht yesterday.

John Arkins, general secretary of the Irish Film Workers' Association, said crew were being told they would never work again if they asked to become PAYE workers with some production companies.

He also claimed trade union Siptu had entered into agreements with production companies requiring crew to work more than 48 hours a week.

Denise Walker, a regional organiser for GMB Ireland which represents 300 film workers, said the hours drivers work while on film sets are unsafe for them, their passengers and the general public.

In some cases, she claimed drivers were being asked to work 12-hour days.

She said producers were "forcing people to work beyond the legal limits". She added that the work could be split between workers.

Asked what she would change about the sector, Ms Walker said security of employment and the working week were important to address.

The committee was told that in some cases workers with years of experience were being told they could only work on a project if it was as a trainee and on a trainee rate of pay.

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín suggested it might be helpful if a representative for film crew sat on the Irish Film Board (IFB).

John Ward told the committee he had worked as crew for 20 years, including on one well-known TV series. He claimed that because he had raised concerns about his hours, he has been blacklisted.

Irish Independent

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