Better industrial relations would enchance Ireland’s reputation among international film producers

Recently an article was published in the Sunday Business Post on improving industrial relations in film. Given the title of the article it clearly indicates that there have been issues and that is highlighted later in the article that Ireland’s reputation abroad has been damaged. John King of Siptu said that it is vital that all stakeholders make the necessary effort to reach an “amicable agreement” but after 15 months of negotiations it would appear that talks have not run smoothly and a conclusion is still a long way off despite the end of March been mentioned in the article.

It’s true some segments of a few Hollywood movies such as Haywire shot briefly in Dublin, but their impact has been minimal given their short stay in the country. Much has been made of the recent arrival of 3 BBC productions and one ITV2 production but all of these are relatively low budget.

It’s worth noting that since Starz axed the second series of Camelot last year Ardmore sound stages have remained dormant for 12 months, meanwhile in the UK, the industry is working a full capacity, with several large feature film going into production this year. So why is Ireland been overlooked?

One thing is certain while industrial relations remain unresolved the possibility of  any major Hollywood producer choosing to shoot a full movie on location in Ireland is very unlikely. Without regular large international productions, maintaining a vibrant film industry in Ireland will prove difficult.

© Tom Dowling

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Industrial relations in film improving

Article by Mary Kate O’Flannagan Sunday Business Post February 26th 2012

One of the thorniest issues facing the film industry today is labour relations. At the American Film Market in Santa Monica last year was talk among Irish Film producers was all about the word had spread in Hollywood that Ireland was a less attractive location than previously believed, because of the intransigence of unions. Without international productions, all the enterprise and creativity in Ireland would find itself woefully under resourced.

“It is true to say that there have been some practices and that has made it difficult to produce in Ireland and has affected our reputation abroad” said Barbara Galavan, chief executive of Screen Producers Ireland (SPI)

According to John King of Siptu “The industrial relations situation is indeed delicately poised at the moment and it is incumbent on all stakeholders in the industry to put in the necessary effort to conclude an amicable agreement”

Barbara Galavan of SPI said “We are currently in talks in the Labour Relations Commission with the group of unions representing some grades working in the industry.

“Progress has been good, albeit not at the pace we would like.

We remain positive that we will achieve a satisfactory outcome for both sides that will address the issues, and improve Ireland’s reputation as a good location for production”

We want the film and television industry in Ireland to have a future and that is why we have to engaged in the tri-partite process with the IFB and SPI” said King.

We also want to know that the industry supplies people with reasonable reward for their valuable efforts. The film Industry has two agreements: the shooting crew agreements that applies once the production commences. We concluded an agreement covering that with SPI and IBEC under the auspices of the LRC in 2010.

“The second side is the construction side, so it pertains to pre-production. We have been involved in intensive negotiations on this side for the last 15 months.

“If we can reach an agreement that will mean stability for the industry. It is our hope that will happen in March this year”

When asked about the reputation of the unions, James Hickey of the Irish Film Board said. “ There were publicised difficulties last year in that area, but incoming productions activity continue to locate here. A lot of work has gone on over the last six to nine months on improving industrial relations

“While obviously we will always be monitoring the competitiveness of Ireland as a location. I am looking at an environment where Ripper Street, Vexed, Loving Miss Hatto. The Vikings are going into production in the next few months”

Arts minister Jimmy Deenihan said “Loving Miss Hatto is the third British television project confirmed for Ireland in recent months, bringing the total value of these projects to €13 million in terms of investment in the Irish economy”.

“It is probably an exaggeration to say that it is impossible to attract international productions when we have recent international productions filmed here like haywire, This Must Be The Place, The Tudors and Camelot”.

Article by Mary Kate O’Flannagan Sunday Business Post February 26th 2012

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