The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union, representing roughly 60,000 film and television workers, have voted to authorise a strike that could bring Hollywood productions to a stop indefinitely, president of the organisation Matthew Loeb announced on Monday, according to US media reports.

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“The members have spoken loud and clear,” said Loeb, CNN reported. “This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry. Our people have basic human needs like time for meal breaks, adequate sleep, and a weekend. For those at the bottom of the pay scale, they deserve nothing less than a living wage.”

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According to the union, the results were by “nearly unanimous margin,” with nearly 90% voter turnout.

This is the first time in the union’s 128-year existence that members have authorised a countrywide strike, the IATSE said.

The union had been in negotiations with the group representing producers, the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers (AMPTP), making a case for higher pay, improvements to on-set conditions (including longer rest and meal breaks) and larger contributions to health and pension benefits. Those talks were halted last week after the groups could not come to an agreement.

“The AMPTP remains committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working,” the group said in a statement. “We deeply value our IATSE crew members and are committed to working with them to avoid shutting down the industry at such a pivotal time, particularly since the industry is still recovering from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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It added: “A deal can be made at the bargaining table, but it will require both parties working together in good faith with a willingness to compromise and to explore new solutions to resolve the open issues.”

IATSE is expected to return to negotiations but said it will do so hoping the studios “will see and understand the resolve of our members,” Loeb said.

The Writers Guild of America failed to negotiate a deal with AMPTP in 2007, resulting in the final big Hollywood strike. It lasted 100 days and affected everything from movie projects to TV programmes to late-night entertainment.