01/02/2018

Irish Film Industry Blighted By Precarious Work And Unaccredited Training - SF

Precarious work and unaccredited training are "blighting the Irish film industry", Sinn Féin spokesperson on Culture and the Arts Peadar Tóibín has said.

The Meath West TD raised the concerns at an Oireachtas Committee meeting on examining the working conditions and development in the industry which included representative unions and key stakeholders such as SIPTU, EQUITY, The Irish Film Board, and Screen Producers Ireland.

Deputy Tóibín, who is the Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said: "This is a very important industry for a number of reasons; for the artistic expression that it provides, for the fact that it allows Ireland tells its story, for the fact that so many people are dependent on it to make a living, and the economic impact it has on the state.

"However, huge faults exist which impact workers most of all. Take for example Section 481 which gives €60 to €70 million a year in tax breaks. A condition of this tax relief is that the project must provide 'quality employment and training opportunities'. However, for many this is nothing but a box ticking exercise. It has no start beginning or end, it has no certification and workers with many years' experience and degrees and qualifications have to go through the process for year after year.

"Experienced workers are being employed as 'trainees' for untold amounts of years. Screen Training Ireland has no QQI accreditation, nor any facility to develop recognised courses or training plans.

"The Minister for Culture appoints people on the Film Board which consists of seven members who are chosen every four years. Yet, there is no representative of film crews on this board, which comprise such a large section of workers in the sector.

"The Crawe Haworth Report was timely but it is flawed. Where was the input from workers on the ground? What protections exist for these workers in terms of honouring the Working Time Act or the Fixed Term Workers Act? The 'SIPTU/SPI Shooting Crew Agreement' seems to have fallen on the floor –the promised 'Film Partnership Forum' to meet quarterly seems to have vanished in thin air.

"Film industry workers are in dire need of greater protections. I welcome that the Irish Film Board has agrees to initiate a Forum in the sector that can bring all sides together to work for solutions. The Committee hearing today is just a beginning. Sinn Féin are working to ensure that the rights of film industry workers are put on steadier ground and that their training become recognised and standardised."

(MH)

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