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Stars Wars movie at risk as crew threatens to strike

Filming on the next Star Wars movie is in jeopardy as crewmembers have threatened to strike over pay just days after the shoot began in the U.K.

The next installment in the sci-fi franchise, Star Wars: Episode VIII, starring John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Adam Driver, is the follow-up to the hugely successful Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which became a blockbuster hit across the world following its release in December (15).


Filming on the new movie kicked off in Britain earlier this month (Jan16), but the shoot is under threat amid a row between a film trade organization and a union representing lighting technicians.


Officials at The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theater Union (BECTU) are threatening to call strikes over pay increases, and talks between them and film industry body Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (P.A.C.T.) recently broke down.


Producers behind nine films currently shooting in Britain, including Star Wars, met with BECTU officials at the Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden complex in Hertfordshire, England on Wednesday (27Jan16) in a bid to stop the industrial action.


They offered a pay increase of between five and eight per cent, according to Britain's The Independent newspaper, and gave union bosses until the end of Thursday (28Jan16) to put the offer to its members.


If they accept the deal, shooting on the films will go ahead, but the productions could all be shut down by a strike on Saturday (30Jan16) if the terms are rejected.


Other productions which would be affected by the industrial action include upcoming superhero movie Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, Tom Cruise blockbuster The Mommy, and revenge drama The Foreigner, featuring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan.


"At the moment, these productions are at rick of stopping on Saturday," explains BECTU General Secretary Gerry Morrissey.