Members of the Neighbours production team claim that their employer, Fremantle, has refused to pay them redundancy.
“They’ve had Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan come over to shoot scenes recently,” Paul Stanley, an organizer of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union, told the Guardian.
“That’s cool, but you’ve got people working here that took eight weeks off last year to ‘save the show’. You’re saying you can’t pay us redundancies and yet you are sinking money into the talent.”
The Australian serial that helped establish the worldwide careers of Kylie, Jason, Guy Pearce, and Margot Robbie was canceled earlier this year after Channel 5 said it would no longer buy the show.
Over the previous few months, union delegates are said to have met with management from the production business several times to discuss the “devastating impact of the show’s termination on the long-serving crew,” which includes about 100 people.
Despite their contracts rolling over yearly, Fremantle maintains that the workers are not employees but contractors, and hence are not entitled to the same benefits as regular employees, according to the union.
“Fremantle is trying to avoid payment to the crew who have been loyal to the production, in some cases for decades, under cover of rolling ‘fixed-term contracts,” the union told members in a bulletin following the show’s cancellation.
A crew member, who worked on and off for Neighbours over the three decades, expressed his disappointment: “Some of us have been here for 30-odd years, and they’re just saying that they’re not recognising the service.
“They always make out that at Neighbours, we’re all part of the family, but then it’s come to the end of the show, which is sad obviously, and they just turn around and say, ‘well, you’re not entitled to any benefits,’ so it’s a bit frustrating and disappointing.”
Fremantle Australia’s chief executive, Greg Woods, has declared that the firm has met its legal requirements.
“To safeguard the wellbeing of our cast and crew of whom are our primary concern, and with just over one week left of production, we will not be providing a detailed comment at this time,” states Woods. “Additionally, as part of company policy, we also do not provide comment on HR-related matters.”
He continued: “However, I can confirm that we’ve sought external counsel to ensure that we provide the necessary support and that we meet everyone’s legal entitlements and fully comply with our obligations.
“Our priority is and will continue to be to support the wellbeing of our cast and crew as the production draws next Friday.”
When Digital Spy called out for comment, Fremantle said, “We don’t comment publicly on on-going HR problems.”
- Neighbours star Georgie Stone reveals death plot producers turned down
- Neighbours ‘refusing some redundancy payments to crew’
- Fans spot BODY DOUBLES standing in for Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan on the set of Neighbours finale
- Neighbours reveal first look at Jodi Anasta back on set ahead of the show finale
- Guy Pearce Is Returning To Australian Soap Neighbours For The Series Finale