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Screen Actors Guild rejects new game contract

The national executive committee of the Screen Actors Guild has refused to accept recommendations to sign a new contract and end the dispute over wages for voice acting in games.

The national executive committee of the Screen Actors Guild has refused to accept recommendations to sign a new contract and end the dispute over wages for voice acting in games.

Publishers including as Electronic Arts and Activision negotiated a deal with SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio artists to up payments by 36 per cent over three and a half years, starting with an instant 25 per cent increase.

However, the deal did not meet the unions' demands to offer performers residual payments, which would have seen them receiving additional fees depending on the sales of the game.

Both AFTRA and SAG publicly accepted the offer, with SAG president Melissa Gilbert commenting: "With great reluctance, our negotiating committee concluded that it is in the interests of the members who work these contracts to make this deal."

But only 60 per cent of SAG the national executive committee voted in favour of signing the new contract, overruling the negotiating committee for the first time in history. The union is now increasingly divided, with members falling into one of two camps - the Restore Respect group, led by Gilbert, and the MembershipFirst faction.

"MembershipFirst effectively put SAG out of the interactive business completely," said one SAG board member.

"They have shown the industry that Screen Actors Guild does not negotiate in good faith. Why would anyone want to sit down with us now?"

SAG national executive director Greg Hessinger commented: "The bargaining committee and staff of Screen Actors Guild worked extremely hard over the course of many months to negotiate fairer terms and conditions for the actors who do this work.

"While the tentative agreement they reached included several key gains, the guild's national executive committee has made the final determination that this proposal was not enough.

"We will now explore our options," he added.

The new contract will go into effect for AFTRA members from July 1.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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