It has come to this masthead’s attention that a regional production company is exploiting freelance technicians through non-payment of their invoices. After speaking with three anonymous sources, we can confirm that their exploitation tends to follow the same pattern, and we are advising any freelancer to do their due diligence on any company they agree to work for, especially interstate.
The company generally targets technicians who are based in other states, flying them in for fixed projects or contracts, typically over two weeks or more. On their return home, their invoices go past due, and the company goes silent. Repeated calls for payment or references to legal proceedings are met with bullying. While most victims are interstate, some are local.
Our sources say the company has indulged in this behaviour in the past, but the pandemic has worsened the situation. “We’re all desperate for work,” says one of our sources. “Like everyone else, I’ve lost 90% of my gigs. The amount this company owes me is not devastating, but I know others who are owed much more. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, especially those who are more financially vulnerable than I am.”
Another source confirms that the exploitation is across all technical disciplines, with video, audio, lighting, staging, and rigging all affected. “The pattern’s been the same with everyone I’ve talked to,” confirms the source. “It first came to my attention through people on the job I worked on who also hadn’t been paid. They’re not discriminating in who they’re not paying.”
Another source confirms that the company is operating normally while not paying its freelancers, continuing to take on new contracts and buying new gear from suppliers, who it IS paying.
Exploiting desperate technicians during this pandemic is unconscionable. While Australia’s completely unbalanced defamation laws prevent publication of any details of the company involved for the moment, the second any action is brought before a court in relation to this matter, we will be free to publish with impunity, and will.
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