A HOLLYWOOD scriptwriter says she is looking forward to returning to work after her union agreed a deal with studios.

Catherine Wignall, who is originally from Ellesmere, but was based in LA prior to Covid-19, had been on strike with fellow writers in the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) since industrial action started in May.

But last month, the WGA struck a deal with studios that addressed a number of issues concerning writers, such as ensuring jobs for as many writers as possible and the use of AI.

And although she admitted the whole process has been ‘exhausting’ and not without cost, she feels proud that her union stood by its members.


She said: “After 148 days, the WGA strike finally ended on September 27.

“It has been an exhausting strike, but one few writers would regret when considering that the future of our industry depended on it.

“Since the arrival of streaming companies (Netflix, Disney, Apple, etc.) it has been a race to the bottom as profits are squeezed and writers – the creators of all your favourite TV shows and movies – have been paid less and less, turning a previously middle-class job into one with poverty wages."

Catherine explained that although there was a stalemate and although some union members did struggle to pay their rent and mortgages, it helped to galvanise the union and picket lines were full every day.

She added that the demands from the union included higher pay, minimum staffing requirements in writers’ rooms, bonuses for successful streaming shows, and protections against the use of AI (artificial intelligence).

“For film writers, the studios also agreed to guarantee ‘second-step’ payments, which should hopefully put an end to writers doing multiple unpaid rewrites," Catherine added.

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She continued: “I don’t know any writer who hasn’t voted to ratify this new contract.

“It might not be a perfect contract, but it’s one that should help ensure screenwriting remains a viable job for more than an elite few.

“I’m excited to get back to work, and hope that in three years – when the WGA next renegotiates their contract – the studios remember our solidarity and don’t fall back on old cruelties.”