Plans that effectively forcenon-US productions to employ local talent under US union rules have triggeredprotests from UK producers body PACT.

The body warned thatmounting pressure from US actors union SAG to use its so-called Global Rule One- whereby SAG members working overseas must use SAG contracts even if they hailfrom the UK - would undermine local unions and could harm local production.

The move comes only weeksafter PACT agreed a fresh contract with UK actors Equity, ending a strike by UKperformers. But PACT said that SAG's contracts would now override thatagreement if UK actors - even those working on UK films - are members of bothEquity and SAG. The producers body is taking legal advice over the rule, whichSAG aims to enforce from May 1.

"The SAG contract wasthe one we were trying to avoid above all others," said a PACTspokesperson, referring to the recent negotiations with Equity. "On paper,[global rule one] does drive a coach and horses through the ability of a localunion to negotiate locally with producers. That is something we are veryconcerned about."

While only a few UK actorsare members of SAG, PACT argues that the SAG contract could have an impact byallowing additional ancillary payments to actors to kick in earlier and includeother revenue streams. SAG also offers a better health and welfare package.

SAG is said to be pushingthe proposals partly as a response to so-called runaway productions shootingoverseas. SAG's pension and health funds are understood to have lost $23million in the last five years due to members working on non-union contractsoverseas.

But one leading UK producerslammed the prospect of having to employ a local actor on a local film under aSAG contract as diabolical. "It is an outrageous example of Americanimperialism," he said. "How dare they'"