The voice of audiovisual and cinema professionals

For 23 years, Laurent Blois, 61, has been the general delegate of the Union of Professionals of the Audiovisual and Cinema Industries (SPIAC CGT), which brings together several shadow professions – sound engineers, editors, costume designers, scripts, cinematographers etc. Since 2001, his name has appeared in the media whenever French cinema and audiovisual industries go through a crisis. Since November 15, the date the audiovisual technicians’ strike began, he has been on the front line to make their demands heard. The main one: 20% increase in their salaries. This December 5, the main bosses of French audiovisual and cinema must make a proposal to the strikers.

A political activist

“I don’t come from a film background at all,” he explains. After literary and legal training, he spent around ten years in the Senate – administrator in the communist group, parliamentary collaborator – where he was particularly interested in cultural affairs. In 1999, he left his job because he wanted to do something more “dynamic” and he applied for the position of general delegate of the union. “Political combat is a passion. » Employee of the SPIAC CGT, he does not take part in the votes of his organization, he is only the voice.

A tenacious negotiator

Upon arriving, he discovered a profession where there was a “profound misunderstanding” of the Labor Code. He observes that in this “passionate profession”, there are few or no standards. The reality is long unpaid hours, slow shoots and low salaries. But “when you are an employer, you have social obligations,” he repeats. Between 2005 and 2013, tense negotiations (“we were accused of wanting to kill French cinema”) resulted in improving a collective agreement which dated from the 1950s. “I led this fight with comrades, volunteers, members , he said. I have no merit – I am an employee, I do my job. »

An optimistic intermediary

He is not into punchy operations – a technician who publicly offends producers on the César stage “takes professional risks” – but he does not hesitate to speak “clearly”. In 2013, in the middle of the Cannes Film Festival, he denounced the working conditions on the filming of La Vie d’Adèle by Abdellatif Kechiche: “The fact that Vincent Maraval congratulates himself on having co-produced it with so little money poses issue. » He observes that things are changing and that the younger generation wants to have their rights respected. The current strike movement is very popular – 86 filmings and post-productions have been disrupted, including the series HPI, Déter, Terminal and the shows Top chef, Beijing Express and Koh-Lanta. He thinks that the screenwriters’ strike in Hollywood “plays” in what is happening in France but not only that. “It speaks to a very strong desire among employees to live with dignity from their profession. It tells of a coming out of silence. We register between 30 and 35 members per day! “, he enthuses.