U.K. Writers Guild Celebrates ‘Extraordinary Show of Solidarity’ as WGA Reaches Tentative Deal to End Strike

The Writers Guild of Great Britain has issued a statement congratulating the WGA after a tentative agreement was reached with the AMPTP on Sunday night.

In a post on the WGGB’s website on Monday morning, chair Lisa Holdsworth wrote: “In the past 146 days we’ve seen an extraordinary show of solidarity from writers and their union siblings on both sides of the Atlantic, and indeed around the world. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response of our own membership in standing with their striking colleagues overseas – you have followed the WGA strike rules to the letter, turned out to the WGGB protest in London in the summer and sent a tsunami of support on social media. Some of you have even joined picket lines in the States.”

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Holdsworth continued, “Your solidarity has counted and your voice has been heard – both by the Writers Guild of America and their members but also by the streamers, studios and producers who have witnessed this global display of collective action and have – finally – listened.”

As long as the new, three-year contract is ratified in the coming days, the nearly five-month writers strike will come to an end. This gives renewed hope that actors’ union SAG-AFTRA, which remains on strike, will soon reach a tentative agreement with the AMPTP as well, as Holdsworth hinted at in her note.

“We are also aware of the acute impact the strike is having on the U.K. creative industries, on our own members and members of our sister entertainment unions, too, so we look forward to a speedy resolution to both this strike and that of SAG-AFTRA, to whom we continue to send our solidarity,” Holdsworth said. “We look forward to the details of the WGA deal and its implications for U.K. writers. All writers working for streaming platforms must enjoy decent terms and conditions and the best way to achieve these is through union agreements – our work here will continue.”

After five days of negotiations, the WGA said in an email sent to members on Sunday night that “this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.” Though picketing has been suspended, WGA members are still technically on strike until the new contract is ratified. A vote is expected on Tuesday to determine whether the strike order against the AMPTP will be formally lifted.

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission, also reacted to the news in a Twitter post. “It’s fantastic news that the Writers Guild and the AMPTP have agreed a tentative deal on a new contract. While we wait to hear the results of the wider Guild membership vote, it’s incredibly positive that both sides appear to have reached an equitable resolution to some significant and complex issues,” Wootton wrote. “We also hope for a swift and equitable resolution from both sides to the SAG-AFTRA strikes. While not as widespread as in the U.S., the impacts of the strike have been felt by the production community here in the U.K. in recent months, and globally. We look forward to productions and crews restarting as swiftly as possible.”

Philippa Childs, head of film and TV union Bectu, released a statement in response as well. “This is welcome news for our members and the U.K. film and TV industry as a whole. U.K. crew and other workers have suffered at the hands of the AMPTP’s failure to reach an acceptable agreement with WGA and SAG-AFTRA, and this news will provide some hope after months of instability,” Childs wrote. ”It’s now critical that the AMPTP directs all its energies into resolving the dispute with our SAG-AFTRA colleagues.”

She continued, ”The AMPTP cannot be ignorant of the huge and detrimental impact their disputes are having on our industry. Hardworking crew and other workers whose livelihoods have been devastated by these protracted negotiations will be watching developments closely. Our members are highly skilled, talented professionals and the backbone of our film and TV sector, and they want to get back to work. We urge a swift and successful conclusion that will help get film and TV production in the U.K. back to normal.”

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