Dune visual effects (VFX) firm DNEG is making its employees take a pay cut or join a loan scheme.
According to an exclusive report by Deadline, DNEG has asked over 10,000 of its employees to take a pay cut of 20-25 percent for seven months depending on their salary. If they’re unable to afford the cuts, employees have the option to join a loan scheme that sees them pay back an even larger amount over the course of three years.
Deadline reports that employees who don’t agree to do either option believe they will be fired.
The cuts are due to a shortage of work caused by Hollywood studios’ unwillingness to pay writers and actors fair wages. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike in May 2023 followed by the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) in July 2023. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes lobby for better pay, protection against artificial intelligence, and more.
DNEG employees are ‘super pissed off’ at the company’s decision
One DNEG employee said the company’s move has made everyone working there “super pissed off.” They added, “We feel like DNEG is not offering anything to compensate but are instead pushing all the weight and risk on the employee.” Another employee accused the company of “exploiting workers.”
In a statement provided to Deadline, DNEG said the decision was not one that the company “made lightly.”
“DNEG is not immune to the impact of the current industry disruption, and we are not alone,” the statement reads. “These challenges are impacting all filmmaking departments, and our global clients are facing suspension or postponements of projects that represent meaningful revenue to all companies and professionals working in this industry. As a result, we are continuously and proactively reviewing all areas of our business to ensure that we can continue to deliver the highest quality work while protecting as many of our employees’ positions as possible. In order to do that, we’ve asked all employees and team members, including the most senior executives and creative leaders, to assume short-term pay cuts that will enable us to maintain the maximum number of jobs through this period.”