UK unions back striking American screenwriters

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date: 27 November 2007

embargo: For immediate release

British trade unionists will be demonstrating their support for America's striking screenwriters tomorrow (Wednesday) as part of an international day of solidarity called by the Writers Guild of America, whose dispute with the multinational media conglomerates is starting to hit the US film and TV industry.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber and Deputy General Secretary Frances O'Grady will join members of the Writers Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) in a demonstration on the steps of Congress House at 12noon.

Carrying placards and wearing T-shirts supporting the Hollywood strikers, the TUC's top team will be joined by playwright and WGGB President David Edgar, playwright and television writer, Alan Plater, and actors Harriet Walter and Timothy West.

Demonstrations with placards as seen on picket lines in Hollywood will be taking place in London, and in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, France and Canada. The international solidarity day has been called as talks aimed at settling the dispute in the States enter a crucial phase.

Before the UK demonstration takes place, WGGB General Secretary Bernie Corbett, who recently met the leaders of the American union, will brief leaders of the UK's professional and executive unions group on the significance of the dispute over rights to the use of work in new media.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Writers and actors across the world will be showing their support for their fellow writers in the States who are fighting for a better deal. Many writers struggle to make a living, yet the film studios and TV networks stand to make billions of dollars when writers' successful scripts are published on DVD or are downloaded from the internet. All the writers are asking for is a fairer share of the huge profits to be made.'

WGGB General Secretary Bernie Corbett said: 'Writers and other creative workers all over the world have a vital interest in the US screenwriters' strike, because it is imperative that creators share in the huge rewards that will flow from use of their work on the internet and other digital media."

Last week it was reported that the dispute could cost the UK's Pinewood studios up to £3million.

Photo opportunity: At noon on Wednesday, the TUC's Brendan Barber and Frances O'Grady will be carrying placards in support of the American screenwriters on the steps of Congress House (Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS), alongside members from the Writers Guild of Great Britain and Equity.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- The Welsh branch of the WGGB is also planning a demo in Cardiff on Weds.

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet : a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: [email protected]
Elly Brenchley T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: [email protected]

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