The Korean Motion Picture Producers' Association and the Federation of Korean Movie Workers' Union have announced they will sign Korea's first film industry labour agreement tomorrow (April 18) in a ceremony at the Korean Film Council's headquarters.

According to the deal, workers will be paid on a bi-weekly basis instead of per project - a practice which in the past was problematic for many workers, especially when films ran over schedule, closed down, or ran out of budget.

The new work week will be set at 66 hours, with 12-hour work days which can be extended to 15 hours without negotiation between labour and management.

The deal includes paid leave and insurance coverage against industrial accidents, illness, unemployment and pensions.

Low-budget films, defined as those with a budget below $1.1m, will be exempt from the deal.

At the moment, local producers are facing a challenge to cut costs, with rising budgets as productions now average $3.7m-$4.3m, and reduced profitability. But both labour and management agreed upon the need for more reasonable work conditions to cultivate a more stable and professional industry.

'This is significant in that we have set up the foundation for change towards a reasonable production process,' said the Workers' Union in a statement.

The deal was negotiated through 19 meetings between the KMPPA and workers' union, which took place over a ten-month period starting in June 2006. Union members earlier this month voted on the agreement to a 94.5% result in favor of the deal's conditions.

The agreement will go into effect this July.