Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Anatomy of a Shambles

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  • st ephen,

    The trade union is thus the mortal enemy of the charismatic leader ...

    How about: "The charismatic business leader is the mortal enemy of the trade union official"?
    I guess the official's argument would be that even if PJ is a terrific bloke, it isn't healthy to have an industry's pay and conditions wholly reliant on one bloke's terrific-ness. (Although if the industry only exists because of said bloke's terrific-ness, it's a bit of a moot point).

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 199 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Food for thought:
    The 2007 application for registration has 9 Auckland actors and 6 Wellington:

    Auckland: Tracey McGuire, Liesha Ward Knox, Jeff Szusterman, Donogh Rees, Nicola Kawana, Jacque Drew, Jared Turner, Jean Hyland and Rachael Blampied.

    Wellington: Robert Tripe, Lyndee Jane Rutherford, Kate Harcourt and Rodney Bane.

    The registered address was Brandon St Wellington - the offices of Oakley Moran Barristers and Solicitors.

    The 2010 registrants are:
    Auckland: Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Russell Pickering, Alister Browning, Rachael Blampied, Bruce Hopkins, Peter Coates, Sam Snedden, Jacqueline Drew, Liesha Ward Knox, Jeff Szusterman, Todd Emerson, Chelsea Preston Crayford, Jonathan Hodge, Edwin Wright and Joel Herbert.

    Wellington: conspicuous by their absence.

    Oh, and Nick? The new one is actually longer than the old one.

    And let's think about that - they applied for registration - through a Wellington solicitor, Peter Cranney (Oakley Moran) - and then did nothing about their obligations.

    I've run an incorporated society or two in my time. The paperwork is not that onerous. It's not easy to get struck off. You get repeated warnings.

    For professionals in the acting business, it all seems very amateur even before you get to the current debacle.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2080 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    Peter: What else could a studio ask for?

    When I wrote that post I was specifically thinking of your earlier post:

    The fact that they've removed the boycott now doesn't mean they can't put it back on at a later date.
    ...
    Everywhere in the world, you can sign a collective agreement with actors that makes further industrial action impossible. Not here. That's the problem.

    If what the studio want is a guarantee there will be no further disruption, how can that be provided? They don't seem likely to take NZAE's word for it.

    Sacha: That's where the extra tax breaks and relaxation of employment law to be offered up on Monday comes in.

    If that's what it takes it really will look bad for the union.

    Since Sep 2009 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    I would also like to point out that despite the growth of our film industry, you will see more people queue up to the local meatworks for jobs than at PJ's backlot. It may be back breaking work, but a leading hand at AFFCO in Fielding would at least be able to feed his family, pay a few bills and buy a playstation 3 for the kids and a pair of shoes for his wife.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    @Steve, Yeah, I know, wasn't at all directed at you; just an generalised attempt at trying to be more positive.

    Which John Key pretty much just put an end to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    The trade union is thus the mortal enemy of the charismatic leade

    Pssst, Chris, they're actors. Check your Player's Handbook, you need a minimum Charisma of 15 (or a Shirt with + 5 to Sexterity) to be an actor.

    Quite frankly the union bashing on here is very sickening.

    "Union bashing"? Have you even read anything people have been saying on here?

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 861 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Brendon

    I'm not union bashing here, and I don't think others are either much (even Craig). In my working career of 30+ years, I've proudly been a member of about 5 unions and an official up to national delegate status in one of them. For the last 10 years, I've been an independent contractor and I like the freedom that gives me. Doesn't mean that I don't respect unions, or that I support the employers willy-nilly.

    What I don't respect is poor unionism and that's what we're seeing here from NZAE, MEAA and the CTU (who really should know better). Step outside your class war and look objectively at the situation - can you seriously tell me those parties haven't screwed nearly everything they've touched? Or is the union always right, from your perspective, no matter what they do?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2080 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    Im sure a lot of people here would gladly abolish unions and casualise and freelance the entire New Zealand workforce, and force wages down, but I will tell you, I want to be a full time employee,and I dont belive that any one should force that on me.

    Bit of a strawman, don't ya think? I don't think anyone has at any point promoted that position here. And I don't see any "union bashing" either. Yes, there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the specific actions of the specific unions in this case, but that is all. I think you are imagining things.

    Since Sep 2009 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I consider it ironic, that the people on here, especially Mr Brown, who started out enjoying the benefits of union representation in the journalism sector want to pull up the ladder and deprive future generations of the job security and generous pay they enjoyed.

    Whoa, slow down a bit eh? First of all, you want to be a full time employee, fine, good on you. How does an actor go about that? Should Peter Jackson be mandated to make sequels of the Hobbit for as long as he lives? In which case, can I kill myself now?

    Secondly, for all that some from my political side have been desperately trying to make this thing a referendum on unions, I think it's both misguided and stupid. Misguided, because the actions of unions need to be evaluated: not every campaign has the best interests of the workers or the union movement overall at heart; in this one that are grave doubts that actors even support the action and it pitted different kinds of workers on the same production against one another which is never a good outcome. Stupid, because it's a tough case study from which to argue that unions bring about positive change. So I'm all for worker and union solidarity, but let's not go out of our way to be holding the can on this one, because it's going to hurt us.

    Lastly, if you want to make Russell the enemy of the people, boy, I don't know... Wouldn't you be better advised to actually rebut his factual claims?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7358 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    A few quotes of said union bashing would be more than sufficient to make the point, Brendon. Start with Russell, who you single out. What did he say that was union-bashing?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8500 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    I do acknowlege that the CTU and AE have handled the PR aspect of this issue very badly, but the concerns are quite legitamite.

    As I said before, I dont see what is stopping Jackson from *employing* his cast and crew? Its not that hard, as I said before, there are various models used in other industry, ie seasonal/construction, etc and so on. If people want to be contractors, sweet, but they need to realise it is just Jackson pushing the risk on to them.

    FWIW: I used to respect PJ for what he did for our film industry, and didnt even begrudge him of his knighthood. I just really thought that he would have been better than this.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    (quite frankly I felt that he earnt it more than the likes of Richwite, Brierley and Trotter (the right-wing one), who did little more than flog off assets that taxpayers, workers and the like spent over a century building for some magic neo-liberal beans)

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Pat Hackett,

    ..but they need to realise it is just Jackson pushing the risk on to them.

    Oh they understand the risks, all right. Like the risk of paying more tax if you're classed as a fulltime employee.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2010 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    How does an actor go about that? Should Peter Jackson be mandated to make sequels of the Hobbit for as long as he lives? In which case, can I kill myself now?

    Um, Jackson offers a contract, for terms and conditions over a fixed period and then when it runs out the actor goes and looks for another job. As I understand it, thats what they do in places like farming, etc.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    And if anyone is wondering, I am not singling out RB. His case was the first that popped into my head thats all..

    I am feeling really exposed here using my real name, but the account I created on here 2 years ago, millsy, somehow wouldnt let me sign in.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I dont see what is stopping Jackson from *employing* his cast

    Brendon, you might want to look back through the archives and follow the developing discussion over time, but I'm fairly sure that A.E. members have at no stage been asking to be employees.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 884 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    the concerns are quite legitamite

    All the more reason for them to be addressed in an effective way. I am glad to hear that MEAA NZ = Actors Equity have an agreed process with SPADA now. I imagine some sound local negotiating advice from the CTU may have helped with that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16627 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Just for the record, Brendon, my name is Mark Harris and you can click on the round blue link to the left and go to my website.

    [edit] Hmmm seems my link has disappeared. I'd better fix that. In the meantime, it's here

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2080 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    @nzlemming yeah I too have done the donkey work for a few incorporated societies in my time. As such I have come to appreciate constitutions with strong processes for accountability. They help our organisations survive the rough times.

    If I was a full member of this union I'd be calling a Special General Meeting for a vote of "No Confidence" in Simon Whipp. Alas constitutionally, if just one of the current NZ executive disagreed the SGM could/would never happen no matter % of the membership base I represented.

    A friend of mine, who recently finished acting school, is a signed up member of NZEA. As are all 14 of his classmates. None of them pay union subs yet and therefore likely hold some form of associate membership. They were not informed of the international boycott.

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    but we support an industry which is built on job insecurity low wages and long hours.

    That would be why an international audience were in Wellington earlier this year to listen to Weta's experts speak on the topic of datacentre management.

    Brendon, you don't know anything about contractin, you obviously don't know much about Jackson's industry.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    Oh dear I ranted at Liesha Ward Knox about how unprofessional I thought the MEAA have behaved. It didn't go down very well that's for sure!

    ...I had no idea she was associated with the union at all, this was a few weeks ago...I feel a bit rude now!

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    ?"Jackson's industry?"
    Get a life mate -film's been around many decades before Peter Jackson existed - and will be, many decades after he has gone.
    He's a blip.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Pat Hackett,

    Just tried to read the 29 Sep Press Release on MEAA website entitled: The Hobbit: Australian Actors Support NZ Actor's Strong Stance and I got this message:

    The document is being edited/updated by a User and is unavailable at this moment.

    http://www.alliance.org.au/resources/press_releases/2010_press_releases

    I hope there isn't some late night history re-writing going on.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2010 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    @islander you still getting your PJ love buttons pushed ke ke ke. You could of had a bit part as cementary ghost in The Frighteners for speaking in decades.

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    I hope there isn't some late night history re-writing going on.

    Robyn Malcolm on Close Up tonight: "There was never a boycott."

    We have always been at war with EastAsia.

    Since Sep 2010 • 174 posts Report Reply

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