Irish actors and writers rally in Dublin to support Hollywood strike!

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Irish Equity rally in Dublin on Saturday in support of the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild strikers in the US

Hundreds of actors, writers and entertainment workers gathered by the statue of Wolfe Tone at St Stephen’s Green in Dublin on Saturday, to demonstrate in support of their striking peers in the United States.

US film and TV production has halted in recent months as a result of widespread industrial action over residual payments for writers and actors and how studios plan to use artificial intelligence and the falling rates of pay for many actors.
Addressing the Dublin gathering, Equity president Gerry O’Brien said: ‘We are the ones who tell your stories, make you laugh, cry, yearn, dare to dream.
‘The good faith of actors and writers in the US has been stretched to breaking point by streaming and production companies who want to own everything and deny the actors, the writers and other creatives a share in the success that we create.
‘Executives are paid in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year and many of our colleagues cannot make the minimum required to trigger their health care.
‘Many cannot make their rent even though the productions they are in are generating vast revenue streams and garnering industry awards.’
O’Brien reminded the gathering that the strike in the US and the show of solidarity in Ireland is ‘not about the star names but about the working actors and writers, the equally talented feature players who work alongside the star names and must ensure the storytelling is seamless in its quality.’
Addressing the issue of AI he said: ‘It is now possible that a production company can scan a human being, a worker and generate a digital version and use it in perpetuity without having to pay the performer.
‘Trade unions fought throughout their collective histories for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. We are now at the dawn of the age of an unfair day’s pay for an eternity of work.’
He said that the screen actors and writers guilds of America and unions all over the world recognise: ‘This is an existential moment where we have to decide whether or not we place a real value on our work and whether or not we are prepared to let other people disproportionately benefits from the work that we create.’

  • The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has welcomed the announcement that 692 additional nursing and midwifery education places are planned to come on stream.

The union has called on the Ministers for Health and Higher Education to specify the timeline of introducing these new courses and additional places.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: ‘The INMO very much welcomes the announcement today that the State is investing in providing 692 additional publicly funded nursing and midwifery college places.
‘This is an important first step in doubling the number of publicly funded undergraduate training places.
‘This is a very welcome development, and one we have been calling for to increase staffing across the health service, and which was recommended by the Expert Review Group on Nursing and Midwifery.
‘However, it is important to remember that those entering degree programmes in 2023 will only qualify in 2027, and that in the meantime, other measures need to be taken to reduce pressure on existing staff, to retain those who are already working there, and to encourage new students into the professions.
‘The Expert Review Group on Nursing and Midwifery is also looking at practical ways in which we can provide more training places and make practical changes to nursing and midwifery degree programmes.
‘The report published today by the Higher Education Authority, particularly the emphasis on postgraduate entry, is very welcome in tandem with what we are discussing to advance the profession.
‘We really need to ensure that we are supporting new trainees to stay in the Irish health service.
‘At the moment we are looking at large numbers of nurses and midwives being trained in Ireland who do not see a future for themselves in a health service that’s constantly struggling in terms of capacity.
‘We know there is a chronic and unsustainable overdependence on nurses and midwives who have trained in other countries, and keeping graduates and trainee nurses and midwives in Ireland means creating working conditions where they can provide safe care and expect manageable workloads.
‘Creating additional training places and the environment that makes future graduates want to remain in Ireland will go a long way to ensuring we are maintaining our obligations to recruit nurses and midwives ethically.
‘We also know that housing is a growing obstacle for those entering the nursing and midwifery workforce and that the staffing issues in the health service need to be looked at in relation to people’s circumstances outside work as well as in hospitals.
‘Without housing supports some of these new undergrads will find it impossible to complete their training, and many of those who graduate will struggle to afford housing near the country’s major hospitals, so we need to ensure that this investment in new nurses and midwives is set up for success by providing students and graduates with everything they need to build their careers in our health service.
‘The provision of publicly funded nursing and midwifery places and expanding access is something that is very important to the INMO, so we very much welcome the announcement by Ministers Donnelly and Harris today.’

  • About 12,000 clerical and administrative workers in the Irish Health Service Executive are set to take industrial action at the start of next month in a dispute over a pause in recruitment and what they regard as excessive use of agency staff.

The Fórsa trade union said 93 per cent of its members who participated in a ballot on the proposed industrial action voted in favour of it.
The union said it had served three weeks’ notice action.
‘Last month the HSE informed the union that it was implementing a full pause on recruitment in the clerical admin stream, from Grade III and above,’ said Ashley Connolly, Fórsa’s national secretary for health and welfare.
‘The effect of this decision is to starve hospitals and primary care centres of essential support staff and to place the additional workload on existing staff.’
Connolly said the decision to restrict the recruitment of clerical and administrative workers would leave clinical staff short of the support they need as they respond to growing workloads.
‘Contrary to perceptions, the proportion of clerical and administrative staff in the HSE is low, accounting for around just under 20 per cent of the overall workforce,’ she said.
Connolly said the HSE was ‘blowing vast sums of money on external consultants’ and its ‘reliance on agency staff is an expensive and unsustainable solution.
‘Its failure to invest in the upskilling and development of existing staff is a missed opportunity to strengthen this part of its workforce.
‘Our members are taking this opportunity to drive these points home to the employer.’
The industrial action will initially involve a ban on voluntary overtime and non-cooperation with a range of internal reporting functions, many of them relating to finance.
There will also be a refusal to engage in attempts to extend the working week, something that has been identified as a key element in the HSE’s attempts to reduce waiting times for treatment at hospitals.
Fórsa said the ballot also provided for the possibility of strike action if the dispute is not resolved.
The HSE is the Republic’s largest employer with some 140,000 staff. Its chief executive, Bernard Gloster, has announced a recruitment freeze in relation to managers and administrators due to reported overspending at the organisation.
In a statement, the HSE said it recognised the right of its staff members to engage in industrial action but ‘continues to be available to engage in relation to any matters which arise’, including the utilisation of the State’s industrial relations mechanisms ‘should they be required’.