A new three-year theatrical motion picture and TV production agreement has been tentatively agreed by US actors unions Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation Of Television And Radio Artists (AFTRA) on behalf of actors and the Alliance Of Motion Picture And Television Producers (AMPTP).

The agreement, announced last night at 9.30pm LA time, is subject to the approval of the joint SAG/AFTRA Board of Directors and the memberships of both unions, voting in a secret ballot mail referendum. It instantly destroys the idea of an actors strike - an eventuality which has been dreaded and planned for in the industry for over a year.

Hollywood is now in a strange lull. Studios had so dramatically accelerated film production to beat strike deadlines that, despite this agreement, film production could stay in quiet for some months.

The joint SAG/AFTRA board meeting will take place "as quickly as possible" according to a joint statement issued last night by SAG, AFTRA and the AMPTP. If the Boards approve the contracts, a mail referendum would then be sent to the 135,000 members of SAG and AFTRA nationwide.

According to the statement, SAG and AFTRA members may continue to audition and work on film and television projects at this time. Work done during this period would be paid retroactively according to the terms of the tentative agreement.

Full details of the tentative agreement are not being released at this time, but highlights of the new agreement were revealed and they are:

- Industry standard minimum increases.
- Significant increase in basic cable residuals.
- Additional contributions to the SAG Health Plan.
- Substantial increase in salaries for guest stars and stunt coordinators.
- New provisions for the Internet similar to the Writers Guild of America.

The two sides resumed talks in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon after negotiators took the morning off to rest from a 17-hour negotiating session which finished on Monday at 2.30am.