The Directors Guild of Canada's British Columbia branch has issued a formal strike notice to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and its local counterpart, the Canadian Media Producers Association.
If discussions with North American producers failed, the announcement follows the B.C. union's first-ever strike vote, where members voted 922.2 percent in favor of striking on local US film and television sets.
The British Columbia corporation has to wait 72 hours following the strike notice to begin labor action, unless any production that is not covered by a safe harbor agreement is subjected to picket lines. It's understood that most productions currently shooting in the United Kingdom have signed safe harbor agreements and, with caution, will be protected from any potential labor action.
While discussions on a new labor agreement with North American producers continue, no new safe harbor agreements can be signed before a formal strike notice is issued. From April 26.
According to the union, any production that cannot be covered by a safe harbor agreement might be subjected to labor action, unlike productions with existing safe harbor agreements.
The DGC B.C. said it had requested a meeting with producers to resolve key issues. The parties discussed the matter on April 25, but the DGC stated that no progress was made in completing a new agreement.
We had a conversation with negotiations producers on Wednesday. Due to our overwhelming support for a strike mandate, we had anticipated them to address the issues that are vital to our members. They did not, says Allan Harmon, the district council chairman at DGC B.C. in a statement.
"To their dissatisfaction to respond to these issues has left us with no other choice than to issue a strike notice," said the president. The current collective agreement has expired on March 31, 2021, although production has remained constant throughout the day.
After the DGC's British Columbia branch held the strike authorization vote, North American producers may steer away from Vancouver.
Producers are likely to see the formal strike notice as a way to strengthen the union's position as it negotiates a new collective agreement for directors, second unit directors, production and unit managers, and other below-the-line workers on US studio and streamer films in the Vancouver area.
The current discussions on minimum wage payments continue for the DGC. B.C., particularly for those in lower-paid positions, payment terms for COVID testing, receiving wage increases retroactive to the expiry of the last labor agreement, and North American producers, which are demanding further concessions from the union.