Craft union and Morgan O’Sullivan 50-50 nomination agreement for The Vikings

The new ten part series of The Vikings’ is expected to commence pre production in the coming weeks. Negotiations have been ongoing between Morgan O’Sullivan World 200, Octagon Films and the group of craft unions to put in place a local agreement for the term of the production at Ballyhenry Studios. Today BATU  (union representing carpenters and wood machinists in film) have notified all its current and lapsed members that it has reached an agreement on the 50-50 nomination with the production company, this agreement only applies to carpenters.

On the new studio Deputy General Secretary Denis Farrell said “After completing a tour of the new studio in Ashford I was impressed by the quality and standard of the studio and the fact that the owner of the studio committed so much of his time and his finance to establishing this facility”

No details were given in this correspondents to its members on the other contentious issue where craft unions are seeking one hour travel time each way per day to all its members employed at Ballyhenry Studios. Something which was confirmed to a Sunday Times reporter and appeared in a recent article  Unions and SPI representatives confirmed that travel time to Ashford is part of the proposal”

Its understood this local agreement relates t0 World 2000 and Octagon Films productions, which includes the new 10 part series of ‘The Vikings for the History Channel. Talks are still taking place with Screen Producers Ireland for an overall industry agreement since September 2010 which have yet to reach a conclusion.

Meanwhile members of Batu employed on Loving Miss Hatto  produced by James Flynn and Octagon Films  have expressed dismay having been asked to take a 12.5% pay cut, 3 weeks after production has begun, when no deal appears to have been concluded with the unions concerned. It appears that a local deal had been done to reduce pay rates by 12.5% with craft unions on Ripper Street produced by Element Pictures. Confusion exists on who granted this 12.5% reduction on Ripper Street, was it a decision taken by the craft unions or was it done locally with crews?

Recently Batu have progressed in terms of overall reforms within the industry which was well overdue. An overall industry agreement would provide better clarity and transparency for everyone working in the industry, and assurances to overseas producers of our competitiveness. It would be a win win situation for everyone.

© Tom Dowling 2012


Text of the letter issues from Deputy General Secretary Denis Farrell to all members of BATU.

Head Office:





Fax: 830 4869




5th April 2012.

To: each member and former members  of the union. Re: Union nomination in the Irish Film Industry.

We wish to advise you that an agreement has been reached with a number of film and T.V. productions companies to implement a 50/50 union nomination system on a number of productions in the coming months. This is a local agreement as distinct from the proposed national agreement with Screen Producers Ireland which has yet to be concluded. This agreement applies only to members of BATU  at the moment and will apply on any project  or site including Ardmore and Ashford that the companies concerned are completing. As part of this agreement benefit membership of the union will be required for all carpenters prior to starting work.

On that basis we are preparing a list of members who wish to register with the union for inclusion on the union nomination list for work in the film industry. All members and former members are entitled to apply for inclusion on the list for nomination once they can confirm that they are benefit members of the union and that they will remain as benefit members in order to remain on the list for nomination.

In order to facilitate members and former members who may be in arrears a rejoin fee of €150.00 is available or members can clear all arrears outstanding prior to inclusion on the list for union nomination. Members and former members will also be required to pay the union weekly subscription by bank standing order or under exceptional circumstances to remain in credit six weeks in advance in order to be eligible for union nomination.

Having completed the above process in full each union member will then be included   for nomination by the union when  work becomes  available  with the companies covered  by our agreement. It is intended  that subject to a numbers of productions commencing to apply the union nomination system as soon as we can, we understand that this may be possible  as early April 2012.

On receipt of the enclosed bank standing order form and the enclosed signed letter of consent for inclusion on the union nomination system we will prepare our union nomination list.

The union including its National Officers has considered the principles surrounding the implementation of the nomination system and are committed to insuring that it operates in a fair and transparent manner for the benefit of all members of the union. At a time of severe economic hardship for our members the union believes that this initiative might provide some opportunity for members to obtain work from the production companies who we have reached agreement with. This agreement also is welcome for the reason that it confirms that the new studio in Ashford will provide employment for our members and will help in attracting larger film projects to Ireland.

After completing a tour of the new studio in Ashford I was impressed by the quality and standard of the studio and the fact that the owner of the studio committed so much of his time and his finance to establishing this facility.

If any member or former member requires any further information or assistance with this issue please contact me directly on 087 2742893.

Members and members in arrears will appreciate that the union officers have considered these issues in detail and we are requesting that you also take some time to consider your options and response.

Our union offices will remain closed until Monday April 16th for staff holidays which coincide with the construction industry holidays. On our return we wiii deal with any matters or inquiries arisen from this correspondence.

Yours sincerly,                                      

Denis Farrell

Letter issued by Deputy General Secretary Denis Farrell to all members of Batu.


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