The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain has issued guidance to its members urging them not to break the current Writers Guild of America strike.

The guidance warns UK writers that breaking the strike could harm their long term career prospects on US shows.

The WGGB guidance points to Rule 13 of the WGA strike rules which states the following:

WGA Strike Rule 13: Rules pertaining to non-members The Guild [WGA] does not have the authority to discipline non-members for strikebreaking or scab writing. However, the Guild [WGA] can and will bar that writer from future Guild membership. This policy has been strictly enforced in the past and has resulted in convincing many would be strikebreakers to refrain from harming the Guild [WGA] and its members during a strike. Therefore, it is important for members to report to the Guild [WGA] the name of any non-member whom you believe has performed writing services for a struck company and as much information as possible about the non-member’s services.

“The WGA operates a collective bargaining system sometimes referred to as a ‘Guild Shop’. This means that companies who are signatories to the MBA agreement cannot hire writers who are not WGA members and WGA members are prohibited from working for companies who are not signatories to the AMPTP Minimum Basic Agreement. In reality, this means that to work as a screenwriter in the USA, you need to be a member of the WGA. If you break the WGA strike by taking work in the US jurisdiction for the duration of the strike, you risk being blacklisted by the WGA which could seriously damage your long-term career.”

WGGB Chair Lisa Holdsworth said: “We continue to show our solidarity with our sister union and their members in the US as they embark on industrial action to secure fair pay, decent working conditions and to gain their rightful share in the future financial successes of their work.

“We know that strike action is a last resort and one that requires individual sacrifice. The resounding majority of WGA members who voted for this action have shown the collective strength of their feeling and their resolve to stand firm on issues that affect writers the world over.

“I know that my fellow WGGB members will share my message of solidarity to our colleagues overseas, and I know many will also have understandable concerns about the impact on their work here, at a time when the traditional boundaries around genre and jurisdiction fall away, and when writers here face their own challenges. We’re your union – we’re here to support and advise you, and now is no different – so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.”

Jon Creamer

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