Tag Archive for: contractors

The Governor General recently gave the Royal Assent to the Screen Industry Workers Bill, making it an Act that will come into force on 30 December 2022.

I know I’ve said it before, but I am going to say it again:

“This is the single biggest thing to happen to the New Zealand screen industry.”

It will affect a large part of professional screen production from marketing content, commercials, web series and short films to television and film production.

Every new contract presented to screen workers by producers/production companies from 30 December 2022 on must have the mandatory requirements of the Act. You can learn what they are in the blog I wrote here. For a simple 101 explainer on the Screen Industry Workers Bill, click here.

The Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) is doing its best to educate producers before the Act comes into force—they will be required by the Act to conform.

For you as a screen production worker likely to be engaged by a producer/production company, here is what you should expect.

  • To receive a written contract with sufficient time before the contract starts for you to consider, take advice on and negotiate the terms and conditions presented to you.

In other words, no more getting contracts the day before you start, the day you start, after you start, or not at all.

This includes on low-budget short films, low-budget web series or other qualifying low-budget screen productions.

Any new contract from 30 December 2022 on will need to include:

  • A term saying parties will comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act, and Human Rights Act
  • Bullying, discrimination, and harassment processes
  • Dispute resolution processes
  • Termination notice periods and payments

We will issue a notice about the mandatory clauses that you can expect to see in your contract—all the guilds DEGANZ (directors, editors, assistant editors), NZWG (writers), Equity NZ (actors), SMSG (Screen Music and Sound), SIGANZ (Techos), VEPGNZ (Visual Effects) and MDGA (Motion Designers and Animators) are working with  SPADA (producers/production companies) to agree on these mandatory clauses.

One of the key rules for all parties (the contractor [worker] and the contracting entity [Engager]) with the new Act is:

  • Duty of Good Faith

This sounds like a benign term but it has an important meaning that everyone will need to understand and apply, on both sides (worker and engager):

Duties of good faith for parties in workplace relationship

(1)  Parties in a workplace relationship must not, whether directly or indirectly, do anything—

(a)  to mislead or deceive each other; or

(b)  that is likely to mislead or deceive each other.

The idea that you had to get the express permission of the producer or production company before you showed your contract to an advisor (guild, lawyer, professional advisor) has always been an unacceptable clause put forward under the guise of confidentiality.

If you are a Full member of DEGANZ, you will be able to come to the Guild to have your new contracts checked to ensure that they conform.

For those with existing contracts under which they are working, the producer/production company has 12 months from 30 December 2022 before they will be required to incorporate the mandatory terms of the Act.

DEGANZ collective bargaining will take some time to start and conclude. We expect to enter bargaining around the middle of next year.

It’s vitally important that we start preparing for this now, so that when we move to collective bargaining we are truly representative of all directors, editors and assistant editors. Everyone should have an opportunity to participate in the democratic process required for collective bargaining over the minimum payments, and terms and conditions of their work.

To this end we want all directors, editors and assistant editors to be covered by the Act as a Full member of DEGANZ.

For those of you reading this, please actively encourage everyone you know who is not a member of a guild to become a Full member.

The power of numbers will be very important as we all move forward from here. And it’s our Full members that DEGANZ will represent in any discussions with engagers over contracts, once collective agreements are in place.

A note here: Ngā Aho Whakaari (NAW), Pacific Island Screen Artists (PISA), Pan-Asian Screen Collective (PASC)  and Women In Film and Television NZ (WIFT) are not guilds representing workers under the recognised occupational groups of the Act. Members of these associations should also join the guild that best represents their occupation as a worker.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

I’ve been at three screen events in the last week where people close by are sniffing, coughing and doing it without masks.

Why are they even there?!

At our events and many others, organisers ask for people who have COVID-like symptoms, which include those of colds and flu, to stay home. They absolutely should.

Nearly all of us are contractors. If we get sick and have to take days off, we go unpaid. Those people who turn up to events showing symptoms are selfishly impacting on all of us, even though they may think they are no longer infectious.

We now have a new COVID variant to contend with and cases are on the rise. The Government is about to announce measures to try and alleviate the increase in infection numbers and hospitalisation cases. Things are getting worse again, people.

I had one friend recently who caught the flu. He said it’s the sickest he’s ever been in his life. I said he should have gone to hospital.

It’s obvious though that the general public, and that includes many of us, have become increasingly lackadaisical when it comes to COVID prevention. People aren’t wearing proper masks in public places, and those who wear masks under their chins or just covering their mouths are only doing one thing—contributing to the pile of PPE waste. Thankfully, our COVID protocols on set are being strictly managed on professional productions. If they weren’t, producers would likely run out of crew to replace those they are losing now in significant numbers.

Every individual has the right to make a choice about their own health, but you need to be considerate and follow basic health guidelines that help prevent others from getting sick. Please:

    • Wear a mask in public when indoors
    • Don’t attend events if you have symptoms
    • Isolate if you have COVID, a cold or the flu
    • Wash your hands frequently

I at least thank you in advance for doing this.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

The Ministry of Social Development’s Redeployment Support Service has been designed to help people at risk of job displacement by supporting them to retrain and retain their employment, or transition to new and appropriate employment or upskilling opportunities.

Services are available to all employers, contractors and self-employed people. Wherever you are based in New Zealand, MSD has regional teams across the country.

MSD offer a range of Redeployment Support services, including, but not limited to:

  • One to One and/or Group Consultation for staff facing job loss
  • Linking people to new employment, training and/or upskilling opportunities
  • Advise for employers on financial support available to help retain and/or retrain staff into other areas of their business
  • Connecting employers to business support agencies
  • Providing collaborative events tailored for those at risk of losing their jobs, with a range of employers and organisations taking part

If you are or know of a business that’s struggling, someone going through a redundancy, or worried about their job, our Early Response Team is here to help. To arrange a confidential time to meet and discuss how MSD can support you, please email canterbury_redeployment_service@msd.govt.nz and one of our team will be in contact.

Download more info about the Redeployment Support Service (PDF 244KB)

DEGANZ released the standard feature film editing agreement last September to help strengthen the negotiating position of editors.

To give you confidence to use this template contract, we are holding free workshops with lawyer Anchali Anandanayagam of Hudson Gavin Martin. A great communicator, Anchali will break the contract down so that it is easy to understand.

Why understanding your contract is important

To get the best contract for you and to truly understand what you are legally binding yourself to when you sign, you need to learn in detail what every clause means and where the opportunities lie for negotiation.

What will the workshop cover?

  • Understanding the Guild’s standard feature film editing agreement
  • Which parts can I negotiate?
  • What do these terminologies and clauses mean?
  • The implications
  • How you can apply this knowledge
  • Q&A time

Who is it for?

DEGANZ members – open to all membership levels. We highly recommend that any member working or planning to work as a feature film editor (narrative or documentary) attend.

Attendee Preparation

Please read the DEGANZ standard film editing agreement beforehand.

Facilitator

Tui Ruwhiu, DEGANZ Executive Director

About Anchali Anandanayagam

AnchaliAnchali is a partner at Hudson Gavin Martin – a leading media, technology and IP law firm. Anchali has specialised in media, technology and IP for the last 18 years. An expert in all legal aspects of tech, media and telecommunications, Anchali often advises clients in NZ and overseas on the regulation of new and emerging technologies, data security and privacy, commercialisation of IP, and works with local and international content producers and suppliers to the media sector. Anchali’s clients in the media industry range from established media companies and production houses, VFX and post-production companies, and independent producers, directors and writers.

With qualifications from the University of Otago, Anchali gained her experience both here in New Zealand, and London. Anchali is highly recognised in the leading legal international rankings. Chambers and Partners said Anchali is not only “an experienced lawyer with amazing technical skills,” but also “a relationship builder who can deal with people at all levels both within and between organisations.” They go on to say: “There’s a real benefit having her on our side.” Anchali is a keen advocate of purpose driven organisations and sits on the board of Women in Film and Television New Zealand.

Register for a Session

Monday 9 May 2022, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Zoom Meetings
Register now >

Tuesday 31 May 2022, 7pm – 9pm
Zoom Meetings
Register now >

 


DEGANZ received funding from Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission’s Screen Sector Capability Fund. The fund supports the New Zealand screen sector to develop the business and technical capability to meet the challenges of a COVID-19 and post COVID-19 environment and is part of the New Zealand Government’s Screen Sector Recovery package.

NZFC

DEGNZ

Media release

17 October 2018

A recommended model to allow collective bargaining for contractors in the screen sector has today been unveiled by the Government-convened Film Industry Working Group.

The recommendations, which will now be considered by Government, offer a new path forward for the screen sector, following 2010 law changes to workplace relations in the industry.

“This has been an exercise in collaboration and compromise, and we believe it sets the screen sector on a much stronger footing going forward,” says Group Facilitator Linda Clark.

“The screen industry is unlike any other. The nature of filming means producers require certainty of cost and flexibility of conditions in order to complete a production on time and on budget. Project durations are often fixed, and one worker can be involved in multiple productions during a year.

“The working group is proposing a model that reflects the sector’s uniqueness. It retains parts of the current law, but also allows contractors to bargain collectively and it establishes principles that promote strong, productive relationships. To keep up with current trends, it also applies more appropriately to the overall screen sector, rather than film productions alone.”

The recommendations include:

  • keeping the part of the current law that says film workers are only employees if they have a written employment agreement. This provides the certainty of cost and flexibility of conditions needed in the screen industry.
  • allowing contractors to bargain collectively at an occupation level within the screen industry, such as amongst actors or technicians. The process will be supported by principles, set requirements, and a dispute resolution system. Any resulting collective contracts should apply to all contract work in that occupation.
  • establishing principles that govern relationships in the screen industry, including good faith, protection from bullying, discrimination and harassment, reasonable termination of contracts, and fair rates of pay.
  • applying the model to all screen production work, including film and television, to accurately reflect the industry in New Zealand. The screen sector is increasingly fluid for workers and producers, due to changes in technology and viewing habits. Many workers frequently move between the two, and projects increasingly do not fall neatly into either the ‘film’ or ‘television’ productions.

Ms Clark says the recommendations have the full support of all members of the working group.

“As a sector, the group’s members are committed to a vibrant, strong and world-leading screen industry. All of the members valued the opportunity to work together constructively to develop a model that works for the sector.

“We look forward to the Government’s response.”

The working group’s full recommendations are available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website at https://www.mbie.govt.nz/business-and-employment/employment-and-skills/employment-legislation-reviews/workplace-relations-in-the-screen-sector/background/

The Film Industry Working Group was convened by the Government earlier this year. Its members are:

  • Alex Lee, Film Auckland
  • Alice Shearman, New Zealand Writers Guild
  • Augie Davis, Stunt Guild of New Zealand
  • Barrie Osborne, film producer
  • Brendan Keys, Weta Digital
  • Erina Tamepo, Ngā Aho Whakaari
  • Melissa Ansell-Bridges, Equity New Zealand
  • Michael Brook, Regional Film Offices New Zealand
  • Paul Mackay, BusinessNZ
  • Richard Fletcher, Screen Production and Development Association
  • Richard Wagstaff, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
  • Sioux Macdonald, Screen Industry Guild
  • Tui Ruwhiu, Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand

[ends]

For further information, contact:

Linda Clark
Facilitator, Film Industry Working Group
linda.clark@kensingtonswan.com
027 490 7942

Melissa Ansell-Bridges
Director, Equity New Zealand
melissa.ansell-bridges@actorsequity.org.nz
027 360 1980

Richard Fletcher
Co-President, Screen Production and Development Association
richard@libertinepictures.com
021 655 339