A report on labour relations in the Irish film industry prepared for the Irish Film Board by Frank McGettigan and released Sept 19 concludes "there is little likelihood, in the short term at least, of the negotiation of agreements which satisfy both parties." For more than a year producers' organisation Film Makers Ireland (FMI) and the technical and craft unions have been unable to reach an agreement on pay and working conditions.
The issue was cited as an inhibitor of growth in the sector in the Irish government's 1999 Kilkenny Report on the Irish film industry and former C4 CEO and industrial relations consultant McGettigan expresses surprise that the Irish government has not done more to push matters along. "People need incentives to solve difficulties. If they believed they were losing work [because of the absence of agreements] that might change attitudes." An attitude of mutual distrust is endemic between producers and certain sectors of the labour force.
Pointing to an uncertain future for the Irish industry McGettigan writes in the report, "I detected no 'critical mass' of ongoing and predictable production, which would create a solid group of producers who might be able to persuade all the unions that it was in their interests to change current positions." It's a bleak prediction in a year that, so far, has seen only two Irish-developed features go into production.
McGettigan proposes an Irish Film Agreement which would allow for special pay rates and work practices on Irish made films with certified budgets of less than Euro 6.35million. He argues that such an agreement would permit the unions to exercise "the responsibility to help to encourage the making of more Irish films."