12 Jul 2018, 12.15

The Government should seek to make working arrangements in the Irish film industry more secure, according to a report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht report on the Development and Working Conditions in the sector.

Amongst certain sectors and grades of the industry, concerns exist with regard to working terms and conditions, the Committee concludes. There are concerns that these can impact workers with regards to income, redundancy and pension entitlements, it says. They can also affect workers’ ability to communicate real workplace difficulties as workers without permanent contracts must be constantly rehired.

Other conclusions and recommendations in the report are -

•    Section 481 is a key and central component within the Irish Film Industry. This fact is accepted by the vast majority of the industry’s stakeholders. Section 481 will remain central in the industry into the future.

•    An international comparative study should be constituted to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the Section 481 tax credit. The Committee is not recommending the abolition of the credit, far from it, but its evolution, to ensure that certain foreign investment is not being lost as a result of its current form. Attention must be focused on how Section 481 can be improved to develop rich productive and sustainable indigenous film industry capacity.

•    The Committee seeks the reform of training in the sector to ensure that all training has a recognised qualification where possible, has a beginning and an end, and that trainees are not forced to repeat specific training. The Committee proposes that there be a wider geographical spread of training courses, the introduction of formal apprenticeships and additional finance to improve this training and development.

•    The Committee calls on the Irish Film Board to constitute the Board’s Film Forum, with an independent Chair, in order to allow all stakeholders within the sector to meet and work together to develop mutually beneficial solutions for the industry.

•    Workers within the craft grades of the industry should have representatives nominated to the Irish Film Board to feed in their perspectives and needs into the industry’s development.

•    The Committee calls for collective bargaining rights of freelance workers.

•    The Committee calls for state support for the precarious existence of actors and sustainable pension structures for workers within the Irish film industry.

•    The Committee seeks the further integration of the film industry on a north/south basis with the creation of formal north/south structures, development plans and investment.

•    The Committee calls on the unions and the representative organisations to work towards a mutually beneficial and respectful understanding.

•    Public funding and adherence to employment standards should be linked.

The Report was prepared by the Joint Committee following meetings with stakeholders from the industry earlier in the year.

Peadar Tóibín, Cathaoirleach den Chomhchoiste, said: “Ireland is a highly attractive location for both indigenous and foreign film production. It is the objective of the Joint Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht that we build, strengthen and improve the experience of all stakeholders in the sector in order to see it grow further.

Over the last number of years, the appetite for content has increased radically internationally and Ireland is well placed to meet that demand. The film industry must grow and evolve to meet that demand. As the industry grows, challenges arise. The film industry is a symbiotic industry. All stakeholders of the industry are interdependent, and cooperation is key in its development.

Foreign investment into the Irish film industry is extremely important. It is a key element of the dynamism within the industry. The Government must actively promote and incentivise foreign investment. It is equally important that the Government grows the indigenous capacity with the film industry. Indigenous growth and foreign growth are not mutually exclusive. They are jointly realisable. Indigenous growth and development is stable and sustainable. It involves higher multipliers within the Irish economy and it has the ability to define Ireland as an international hub for the film.

Within any growing sector, there are challenges. The film industry is no different. I believe that it is important that these challenges are addressed and not ignored. The experience of the hearings of the Committee has been that there is broad agreement on what needs to be achieved. There are also differing perspectives and voices that need to be heard. With goodwill by all stakeholders and real Government focus, I have no doubt that these challenges can be resolved.

We hope that this report will help start this process for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders.”

Read the full report here: https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/joint_committee_on_culture_heritage_and_the_gaeltacht/reports/2018/2018-07-12_development-and-working-conditions-in-the-irish-film-industry_en.pdf

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