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Voice actors reach tentative deal to end strike

New agreement includes better bonuses, greater transparency, and protection against fines

The longest strike in the history of the Screen Actors Guild is drawing to a close after tentative deal was struck.

Members of SAG-AFTRA have been striking against 11 game companies including Activision Publishing, Electronic Arts, WB Games and Disney Character Voices since October 2016, demanding the industry treat professional performers to the established standards of television and film.

The terms of the agreement include a new bonus structure that provides additional payment to performers after the game's release, starting at $75 for the first session worked, and $2,100 after 10 sessions.

In a move to improve transparency, game companies will also be required to to disclose the code name of the project, its genre, whether the game is based on a previously established IP, and whether the actor is reprising a former role.

According to Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez, who was the lead negotiator on the new deal, the new transparency provisions will enhance the bargaining power of the union's members.

He added: "Members are also protected by the disclosure of whether they will be required to use unusual terminology, profanity or racial slurs, whether there will be content of a sexual or violent nature, and whether stunts will be required."

Performers will also be protected against certain fines which game companies were trying to impose during the negotiations. These included a provision that would have fined performers for being late or distracted during sessions, another that would have required agents to submit performers for low-paying "atmospheric voice" sessions or face fines, and another that would have allowed employers to use their permanent staff to do covered work outside of the collective bargaining agreement.

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said: "This is an important advance in this critical industry space. We secured a number of gains including, for the first time, a secondary payment structure, which was one of the members' key concerns.

"The courage of our members and their fortitude these many months have been admirable and I salute them. We are always stronger together."

The contract will next be reviewed by the SAG-AFTRA National Board at its October meeting.

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Ivy Taylor: Ivy joined in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.
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