Actors join writers on picket lines in Hollywood during the SAG strike

Hollywood's biggest strike in over six decades has seen thousands of actors join screenwriters for a strike. The strike is driven by concerns about pay, working conditions, and the industry's use of artificial intelligence (AI). The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) accuses the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) of being "unwilling to offer a fair deal," with around 160,000 performers stopping work at midnight. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) walked out on 2 May, and by noon on Friday, union members and their supporters had gathered outside the offices of major studios and streaming services in Los Angeles, New York, and other cities. 

 The strike action is driven in part by an uncomfortable transition to the era of digital streaming and broader technological changes. Both writers and actors have complained that they make far less money than they used to make and that contracts have been undercut by inflation. For actors, pay for individual roles has declined, forcing them to seek several more roles to make the same amount of money as they did a few years ago. Writing contracts have become shorter and more perilous, with payment often not included for writers' work on revisions or new material. The White House has stated that President Joe Biden "believes all workers - including actors - deserve fair pay and benefits." The president supports workers' rights to strike and hopes the parties can reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Actors represented by SAG's sister union in the UK - Equity - must continue to work as normal, due to UK employment laws. The union has told US companies it will be keeping a "very close eye" on any attempts to move US productions to the UK.


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