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Friday, October 21, 2005

Ross Wilson illustrates his idiocy

My two pet hates in Aotearoa are unions and thick unionists.
Filmmaker Peter Jackson's "anti-union" stance is to blame for the dangerous conditions on the set of King Kong, says the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.
And at the end of the article
"Workers in the film industry need to recognise the value of organising collectively as real unions to improve their conditions at work - and film set management should listen seriously to them."
Um, Ross - the TV & Film Industry is heavily unionised and very protectionist.

There's The Screen Directors Guild, Actors Equity, New Zealand Film and Video Technicians Guild, New Zealand Writers Guild, Nga Aho Whakaari (Maori in Film, Video and Television, SPADA (Screen Production and Development Association) and finally, WIFT (Women in Film and Television).

Ross wants more of these. Maybe the CTU isn't getting enough of the pie. Greedy employers? Nah. Greedy trade unions.
ยท Linked Article

Posted by Gooner | 10/21/2005 11:40:00 PM

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

um gooner...it's not...the pay is atrocious....and the health and wellbeing of extra fodder in particular is generally of little concern....

while working on hercules it was often obvious that more than should be situations were accidents waiting to happen....

the whole industry here is screwed over and over-exploited to an alarming degree..with those in the industry are afraid of speaking out/standing up....because of possible employment implications..

phil(whoar.co.nz

10/22/2005 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

phil. so where the hell are their unions when they are needed? Too busy campaigning for Labour, not enough time to actually work for their members. You just summed up what is so rotten and corrupt about the union movement. The union should be beating up the employers so that the employees can keep their heads down.

10/22/2005 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Murray said...

Well the universe is screwed, I agree with phil.

A sad day for humanity.

The fact is PJ is royaly screwing the locals. A near fatal accident after a 25 hour shift?

He's already been taken to court and lost because he treated an employee as a contractor.

Working in the film industry in NZ has ZERO job security. As soon as it looks like its going sour everyone gets fired.

I think it's time PJ went to Hollywood now.

And Adolph you habit is showing, blaming the unions for bad employers is really reaching.

To get an idea I sugest you try working in the industry for a bit. But not if you have kids to feed.

10/22/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

Phil:

Of course, serious set accidents never, ever happen in the US, UK, Australia or Canada - where entertainment industry unions are large and powerful. Nobody ever gets tired, makes mistakes or gets anxious about meeting schedules/budgets and makes a serious error of judgement.

10/22/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your point craig...?

are you defending an involuntary 25 hour shift contributing to an accident..?

the problem is craig...is that such grossly exploitive/unsafe practices are virtually institutionalised here...

the whole industry needs a good kick up the arse....to be unionised..i can't see any other way of making them clean up their act....

phil(whoar.co.nz)

go to source/story>>

10/22/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Murray, I'm not blaming the union for a bad employer. I'm blaming the union for not going up against the bad employer. I have worked on a shop floor and belonged to a union. I have also seen at first hand the sad reality that unions too often focus on politics and as a reesult fail to properly look after their members' interests. (I posted recently on the Australian oil industry experience of this very thing during the 70s.) Phil was bleating about individual members being scared to speak out for fear of losing their jobs. Why can't they speak to their union and have some confidence in it to do something about a problem which phil says is so bad?

10/22/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gooner said...

But Phil, there are 6-7 unions involved here already and they couldn't prevent this accident. More union power will not either. Actually, the most problematic issue with the actors/screen unions is the palaver that the production managers have to go through with the unions just to hire an overseas gaffer (for example). Immigration officials won't authorise visas until the unions have okey'd it! It's not up to them who should be hired it's up to the employer. Then again, the american film industry is worse in this respect.

10/22/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Unfortunately I know squat about the NZ film industry. I'd like to know a bit more.

Gooner has pointed out a variety of film related Unions. Are workers covered by these Unions? Are there pay scales, terms of employment etc?

Are the Unions lobbying hard, and if not, why not?

How rich are these unions? The NZ media panic when the EB have $500,000 ready to fund the change of government. Under Labour, union funding has increased consistently since 1999, and they collectively spent millions to keep Labour in power.

So at the coal face (so to speak) what are they doing? This sounds like a good opportunity for unions to bring home the HR responsibilities to the studios.

And is multi-millionaire PJ requiring a damn good HR person to ensure people are managed and cared for, treated fairly and paid fairly, as he appears to be totally focused on the film making process?

Was there an in depth article I missed in the MSM that revealed all?

If Peter Jackson is paying peanuts for his monkey movie, and working the apes like dogs, then it would be worth sorting.

10/22/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Gooner said...

Zen, mostly workers in the film industry are self-employed anyway so this union talk is a misnomer. What Ross actually wants is no self employed and more employees.

10/22/2005 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

My point, Phil, is that Ross Wilson is exploiting a tragic accident for his own political ends. It wouldn't have been any more tolerable if it had happened on a soundstage in Elstree or Hollywood - where the workforce is heavily unionised.

On one level, Ross Wilson is a union advocate and he's looking out for the interests of the organisation that signs his pay cheque. I've no problem with that.

But a little less naivete would be welcome: Jackson doesn't attract productions here because he's "anti-union" but because he brings very expensive projects in on-schedule and on-budget. And, yes, he's also a very hard-nosed businessman who is quite happy to trade on the fact he has access to a high-skill (relatively) low-wage workforce. Sorry, phil, but the NZ film industry isn't attractive solely because of pretty scenery.

That's no excuse for unsafe workplace practices, but it's a wee bit more complex than Ross Wilson's ideological filter would have you believe.

10/22/2005 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

adolf..the reason normal union mores can't apply is because of the nature of the beast....the work force is not fixed..and with extras can be day to day...

and of course this is another manifestation of our low-wage economy...

something that should concern us all eh...?..(except for that rightie lawyer in dunedin who delights in paying his resthome employees minimum wage..whilst practicing verbal eroticism over his hunk of german auto technology...obviously an advanced human being..)

phil(whoar.co.nz)

10/22/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Phil, the issue was not with extras, but film crew, was it not?

Is this an isue of low wages necessarily? Do we assume that the crews are paid minimum wage, or that these guys might be earning a fair wicket, just working bloody hard, and with long hours, accidents can happen.

I've pulled a few all nighters in my time when I'm focused on a project.

I'm not saying the extras may not be adequately paid, or not paid if shoots are delayed etc, but that sounds like a different conversation to the one sparking the NZTU outburst.

Mind you, if they don't have people managing safety and HR, lessons are there to be learned.

10/22/2005 06:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zen..the story is also about the extras...it's just they have no voice...

phil(whoar.co.nz)

10/23/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

"..it's just that they have no voice..."

..probably why they never get lead roles Phil. (My apologies to extras around the world for that)

A friend's daughter has been working hard in the NZ Film Industry. I think she is going to be a star one day (she is still very young). She has been doing auditions, commercials and a couple of "extras" but recently got a main part in a new kids program.

She loves the work, loves the opportunities and is learning heaps. I wish her luck.

10/23/2005 10:45:00 AM  

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