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Hollywood writers go on strike due to pay disputes with major production houses and worries about AI

Photo Credit: Twitter

The Writers Guild of America (WGA), the group that represents Hollywood’s screenwriters in contract discussions, has declared a strike after talks with major studios failed. The walkout, the first involving WGA in fifteen years, aims to engage tackle a range of problems, including increased wages and better working conditions. However, some of the issues are quite novel in the history of contemporary labour conflicts and have to do with technological advancements that are currently upending the entertainment sector, such as the potential impact artificial intelligence may have on upcoming screenwriting endeavours.

“Though our Negotiating Committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing,” the WGA tweeted late Monday evening. “Picketing will begin tomorrow afternoon,” WGA added.

The negotiations between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade organization that represents movie and streaming studios in contract negotiations, have been going on for a month, but the deadline for a new contract was Tuesday morning. In its own statement, the AMPTP said that it had supplied the Guild with a “comprehensive package proposal” and that it was willing to “improve that offer,” but added that the union’s “magnitude of other proposals” were unworkable.

“The AMPTP member companies remain united in their desire to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial to writers and the health and longevity of the industry”, stated the association, which includes companies like Netflix, Disney, Apple, Amazon, Sony and other major names in the entertainment sector.

It’s uncertain how long the strike will last, but major Hollywood projects will be put on hold until it does. Nearly 12,000 writers could join the strike in the coming days, causing major disruptions to TV and streaming franchises as labour and management clash. The heated negotiations are being driven by a number of factors, including artificial intelligence and the growth of “a gig economy” as a result of the streaming industry’s pressures.

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