Loving Miss Hatto when is a deal not a deal?

Recently I wrote about an issue that arose regarding construction crew pay on Loving Miss Hatto. Octagon Films recently got itself embroiled in a controversial local deal with craft unions on its production of Loving Miss Hatto. Much of the problems stem from the fact that a deal was done between Octagon and what appeared union’s officials incognito, and neither side informed the crew members prior to their employment. Worse still crew members worked 2 weeks on part payment before they were finally informed by production that a 12.5 per cent pay reduction would be imposed.

Today the crew of Loving Miss Hatto took their case to the Labour Relations Commission for conciliation talks regarding the 12.5% pay cut imposed by Octagon Films. For some time producers have engaged in local deals on various productions, in the absence of a national pay agreement with construction unions. Following today’s Labour Relations Commission talks it appears that these deals were in fact agreed between an individual crew members and producers, hardly best practice on the part of the producers. Des Courtney of Siptu represented the crew Loving Miss Hatto today made clear that these deals were never sanctioned by Siptu.

Following today’s Labour Relations Commission talks James Flynn (Octagon Films) decided to concede the claim on this matter “due to the error in communication with the crew” and restore the 12.5%  pay deducted from the crews pay. This serves as further proof of the shambolic practices that have been on going in the industry for some time. The pay rates of construction will most likely have to be reduced to make Irish crews more competitive, but this must be achieved in a transparent way, through negotiation between Screen Producers Ireland, union official’s  and voted on by all its members.

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Categories: Film and TV

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5 replies

  1. Tom can you clarify your statement regarding reducing rates to make Construction Crews more competitive . To what jurisdiction are we more expensive ? I’ve recently worked with a Designer who returned from a project in Northern England on a low budget Produdtion for Yorkshire TV and we discussed Craft Rate and she said even in that category we were still COMPETITIVE ? As I said before even after proving with BECTU Official that we were cheaper by far financially and produce more work per man , where are you drawing this competitive argument from ?

    • Ger, just to clarify “if” a reduction in pay rates is to be discussed then it should be done in a open way between unions officals and SPI. Then UK rates and other can be examined in a like for like manor. I would still like to see those BECTU rates? but here are a few interesting questions.
      1.Who decided that rates of pay should be cut by 12.5%
      2. How was that figure reached?
      3. Did members get to vote on it?
      4. Why were the crew of Loving Miss Hatto left completely in the dark about the pay cut?
      5. How long has this practice being operated by some crews?

      • Q. 1. I dont know as I stood down.
        Q.2. Again I don’t know as my Union Official was pursuing a National Agreement .
        Q. 3. Presently no on the national agreement ,as this hasn’t returned from SPI ballot but this local deal I keep hearing about not that I know of it was imposed !
        Q.4. We are all being left in the dark !
        Q5. I can honestly say I couldn’t tell you as every job I’ve worked on in nearly 20 years I’ve always worked my 91 agreement . I think you could be in a better position to answer that one as you are closer to production side of the table ?

      • Tom , why don’t you field these questions directly to Messrs. Flynn , Lowe and O Sullivan regarding so called Local Deals as they seem to be the only Players regarding this .
        I can only reiterate that my Offical is pursuing a National Agreement !
        He has issued a letter both to members and Producers that the only agreement we have is currently the 91, untill such time that new draft returns from SPI for ratifying or rejection . All members are instructed to work the 91 T/Cs !

      • Ger, the question has been raised, but it takes two to tango. A national agreement is the only way to provide clarity for all to see. Your officials position is clear on this matter but others not so. For the record I have not worked on a film or TV production since October 2010 observing what has been happening over the past 2 years.

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