According to the Independant UK, the Lighting Union in the United Kingdom is threatening to go on strike, after years of what they consider to be seriously underpaid. If they do, Star Wars: Episode VIII could be delayed even further…
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The Independent UK is reporting that talks between the Lighting Technicians’ Union representatives at BECTU (the UK’s Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theater Union), and the employers have broken down, so producers from nine films that are most affected, have stepped in and scheduled a last-ditch meeting to stop a potential halt to work.
What this means for Star Wars‘ new director — Rian Johnson– and Star Wars: Episode VIII, is that if the LTU doesn’t come to an agreement with the production companies, here in the final hours, then there will more than likely be a strike, which could most definitely delay the film even further, past its December 15, 2017 worldwide premiere date. In fact, if things don’t get settled soon, the sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens may not be in theaters until mid 2018…at best.
According to the Independent, The US producers have met with the BECTU reps at Warner Bros Studios Leavesden, where the group offered to pay an increase of between five and eight and-a-half per-cent, depending on each technician’s different grades and responsibilities on a given job. The union had asked for 20%.
Now, the decision in in the hands of the union, and Star Wars fans are left waiting. General secretary of BECTU, Gerry Morrissey had this to say:
"“At the moment these productions are at risk of stopping on Saturday. In order to shoot a film properly you need lighting. If there’s no lighting, you can’t get a decent picture. Without a decent picture you haven’t got a film.”"
If this strike does in fact go through, then it could potentially hurt the UK. Thanks in large part to major tax breaks for production companies, 2014 was a record year for film production in Britain, which was driven by major US features.
If Disney were forced to look elsewhere — besides Pinewood Studios in London — then the UK would definitely suffer a major loss in revenue, as the Star Wars franchise has only just begun to get started. Here’s hoping the union and the production companies can come to an agreement…and quick.