As Hollywood returns to set following the resolution of the Actors’ Strike, the French audiovisual sector has been hit by three days of industrial action this week as crews campaign for more pay.
Around 70 TV productions have been impacted by the three-day strike, which kicked off on Wednesday, including the fourth season of TF1 hit HPI (High Intellectual Potential), Walking Dead spin-off Daryl Dixon, the second season of Canal+’s Marie-Antoinette and France Télévision webseries Deter.
According to local media reports, Daryl Dixon was due to shoot in old town of the Brittany port city of Saint Malo for most of this week, but production was suspended after just one day. The series was due to travel next to Mont Saint Michel.
A number of non-fiction shows have also been hit such as Top Chef, Capital and Equipe.
The strike has been called by the three main unions representing audiovisual technicians, Spiac-CGT, SNTPCT and CFTC Media+, which are calling for a 20% pay increase for all audiovisual crew across the board.
In a statement posted on its website on November 14, Spiac-CGT said the sense of anger and dismay among its members was similar to that of the writers and actors in the U.S. during the Hollywood strikes, even if their industrial action had not caught the attention of the media in the same way.
“Since 2007, due to the failure to increase minimum wages, employees have lost 20% of purchasing power in this sector. They have seen their working conditions deteriorate, working hours have exploded with the arrival of digital platforms, while facing the same job insecurity,” said Spiac-CGT.
“What until recently remained ‘jobs of passion’ are today transformed into an increasingly restrictive and exhausting professional exercise, with constantly decreasing salaries in a context of galloping inflation,” it continued.
The strike was originally due to run for two days on November 15 and !6, but the unions voted to extend the action into November 17, following dissatisfaction over an initial meeting on Thursday with producer and distributor bodies USPA, SPI, SPECT and SATEV to start hammering out a collective agreement.
Following the meeting the bodies announced in a joint statement that they were pushing the next meeting back to December 5.
They said that on USPA and SPI would put forward a minimum salary proposal on the December 6 meeting , that would take into account the economic and professional specificities of fiction.
The producer body statement also called on broadcasters and streamers to take on the challenges of the current situation and to play their part in the raising of crew wages.
“The economic response to employees’ demands cannot be achieved without efforts shared by all parties contributing to the financing of the works,” it read.
The unions were unhappy with the decision to push the next meeting to December 5 and the suggestion that the wage increase proposal may set different rates depending on the type of production.
“You need to listen to us urgently,” said the Spiac-CGT in statement announcing the third day of strikes on Friday.
The body added that the unions would not accept different pay “revaluations” for different types of programs and that it would be calling on crews to take further action in the days and weeks to come.