Unions welcome progress of Screen Industry Workers Bill

'It will bring a new level of professionalism to the industry'

Unions welcome progress of Screen Industry Workers Bill

New Zealand unions on Thursday welcomed the progress made on the Screen Industry Workers Bill after debate on the proposed legislation was delayed due to COVID-19.

The bill introduces a "workplace relations framework" for screen industry workers in a bid to clarify the employment status of people doing screen production work, as well as introduce "mandatory terms for contracting relationships in the industry."

The proposal also wants to "allow collective bargaining at the occupation and enterprise levels and create processes for resolving disputes arising from contracting relations or collective bargaining."

On Thursday, the bill entered the second reading at Parliament, where the House votes on the bill, over two years since it was introduced in 2020.

Several unions, including the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU), the New Zealand Writers Guild, the Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand, and Equity New Zealand, welcomed in a statement the progress of the bill.

"The screen industry brings so much to the New Zealand economy and to our sense of identity as a nation. It's vitally important that workers in the industry are treated fairly so it's great to see this Bill pick up momentum again," said New Zealand Writers Guild executive director Alice Shearman.

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NZCTU national secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges also stressed the importance of collective bargaining for the industry.

"All New Zealanders deserve to have their voices heard in their workplaces. Collective bargaining gives working people that right," said the official.

Tui Ruwhiu, executive director of the Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand, said that they are "thrilled" with the bill's arrival, adding that it could potentially transform the industry.

"The Bill has been a long time coming, and we are thrilled about its imminent arrival. It will bring a new level of professionalism to the industry that is long overdue and will put us on a par with screen sectors in many other developed nations."

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