Jan 30, 2009

Entertainment - Hollywood actors, producers union to meet next week

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Hollywood's warring producers and actors unions said Wednesday they plan to meet for the first time in more than two months next week, signalling a possible breakthrough in their contract feud.

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) issued a terse joint statement saying representatives of the two bodies would meet for two days from Tuesday.

"We will have no further comment about the meeting," the statement said.

News of the meeting comes after SAG's hardline negotiator Doug Allen was forced to step down as executive director on Monday.

Allen's departure came amid a revolt from moderate members of the actors union who have reacted angrily to the possibility of union leaders calling a potentially devastating strike in the midst of a recession.

The actors union has been in a standoff with AMPTP since a previous contract expired in June. Fresh attempts to broker a deal foundered in November.

SAG is holding out for a greater share of royalties from sales and showings of work screened on the Internet.

The AMPTP said the actors' demands were unreasonable and have refused to improve a final offer made in June, similar to other agreements reached with writers, directors and a smaller actors union

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