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Actors approve ‘enormous victory’ deal to formally end Hollywood strike

The US union of actors has hailed an “enormous victory” as the deal that ended the months-long Hollywood strike was officially ratified, with members voting overwhelmingly in favour.

The walkout by the Sag-Aftra union lasted 118 days and brought Hollywood to a standstill, halting productions on film and television shows around the world.

The Sag-Aftra strike ended on November 9 when a tentative agreement was reached between the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers (AMPTP).

The deal has now been ratified by union members, with 78% voting in favour of the contract.

A statement from Sag-Aftra president Fran Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said: “Today we close out one of the most important chapters in recent entertainment industry history.

“The 2023 TV/Theatrical Contracts have officially been ratified by Sag-Aftra members by a vote of 78.33% to 21.67%, with a turnout of 38.15%.

“This contract is an enormous victory for working performers, and it marks the dawning of a new era for the industry. Getting to this point was truly a collective effort.

“With the ratification of this agreement, Sag-Aftra members will receive unprecedented wage escalation, significantly improved streaming compensation, and the first-ever crucial protections around the use of artificial intelligence technology.”

The strike began on July 14 with disputes over pay and the threat of AI at the forefront of concerns.

Crabree-Ireland has previously said the issue of AI prompted a “very serious fight” with the Hollywood studios over the use of “synthetic fake performers”.

The deal now specifies compensation has to equate to the amount of work that would have been done by the actor, while companies have to get the consent of performers to use their facial features as part of the creation of any synthetic elements.

The actors’ strike came at the same time as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) action which was resolved in September, as the union agreed to a deal with studio bosses after 146 days on the picket line.