The Screen Producers Association of Australia ("SPAA") and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance ("MEAA") reached final agreement on a new Motion Picture Production Agreement, during November.
The new agreement will operate from the first complete pay period on or after 1 December 2002 and remains in effect until 31 December 2004.
The agreement makes provision for an 11.5% pay increase apportioned over the life of the agreement in three equal instalments. It also includes new provisions dealing with Offshore Productions; enhanced Production Flexibility Provision; test case provisions on Personal Leave and Reasonable Overtime. There are also amendments to the Superannuation clause; a new Casual Employment Contract and other changes aimed at tidying up the application of some provisions.
The width of application of the new agreement has been redefined. A new clause has been inserted specifying the scope of the new Motion Picture Production Agreement. It indicates that the Agreement:
"…is binding on the members of SPAA from time to time or a non-member entity which has paid the applicable licence fee to SPAA in respect of all employees, other than performers covered by the Actors Television Programs Agreement 2000, the Actors Feature Film Agreement 2000 and the Actors etc Television Award 1998 (or relevant Agreements or Award replacing the said Agreements and Award), employed during pre-production, production and post production and eligible to be members of MEAA, whether members of MEAA or not, and upon MEAA, its officers and members."
Agreement has also been reached for the agreement to be the subject of copyright to SPAA and MEAA with the inclusion of a licensing requirement for non members that use the agreement, and a Favoured Nations clause for SPAA.
The new production flexibility provisions will affect productions creatively controlled by US citizens or residents. The provisions provide that an employee may be engaged to work for 5 consecutive days of up to 11.25 working hours on television series, television serials, telemovies, mini-series and feature film productions creatively controlled by citizens or residents of the US excluding employees engaged during pre-production, post-production and employees engaged in the construction and manufacturing departments.
In the application of these provisions the parties will balance the reasonable and legitimate needs of the production with the health and welfare considerations of employees."
An employee contracted pursuant to these provisions may only be required to work a sixth day in a nominated week to meet extenuating circumstances and provided there is majority consent of the employees affected as determined by secret ballot, such ballot to be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner as may be agreed between the Alliance and the Producer.
The use of this provision for offshore productions other than those under the creative control of citizens or residents of the US is to be determined by agreement between the parties or by following the procedures under the Production Flexibility provisions.
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