It’s been claimed Freemantle is trying to avoid payment to Neighbours crew (Picture: Channel 5/Fremantle)
Neighbours production crew members are claiming that production company Fremantle are refusing to pay their redundancy.
The Australian soap, which has blessed our screens for 37 years since its 1985 debut, was cancelled in March with the final episodes set to air in August.
Paul Stanley, an organiser of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union, said: ‘They’ve had Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan come over to shoot scenes recently.
‘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.’
According to reports, union delegates have met with executives from the production company several times over the pasts few months about the ‘devastating impact on the show’s cancellation on long-serving crew’, which includes approximately 100 staff.
Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan are returning to Ramsay Street for the finale (Picture: Rex)
The union alleged Fremantle maintained that the workers are not employees but contractors, so they’re not entitled to the usual employee standards, despite having their contracts rolling over yearly.
‘Fremantle is trying to avoid payment to 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.
One crew member, who worked for Neighbours for over the three decades, voiced his disappointment that Freemantle is not ‘recognising the service’.
Neighbours will conclude in August (Picture: Endemol Shine)
‘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,’ he said.
Fremantle Australia chief executive Greg Woods, however, has stated the company has complied with its legal obligations.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
Metro.co.uk has contacted Freemantle for comment.
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