Big Brother denies staff rip-off plan

THE makers of reality-television series Big Brother have dismissed allegations they planned to cheat production staff out of their entitlements after the show was axed.

THE makers of reality-television series Big Brother have dismissed allegations they planned to cheat production staff out of their entitlements after the show was axed.

Southern Star Endemol,owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sun-Herald, said criticism from Queensland workplace rights advocates over the company's decision not to make redundancy payments to Big Brother staff and crew were "unfounded and ill-informed".

"Big Brother crew are employed on fixed-term contracts with a specific start date and finish date and which is inclusive of holiday pay and superannuation," Southern Star Endemol managing director Rory Callaghan said. "And the few workers who have worked on the show for a number of series are employed full time with Endemol and will not be receiving redundancy payments, because, simply, they are still employed by the company."

Southern Star Endemol produced all eight seasons of Big Brother at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

On the eve of the last episode, Queensland Workplace Rights Ombudsman Don Brown said it was unfair for the company to deny redundancy payments across the board. "Irrespective of whether workers involved in production of the series are contractual or seasonal as claimed, they are still loyal workers and deserve better," he said.

Mr Callaghan said Southern Star Endemol wanted an urgent meeting with Mr Brown to set the record straight.

"It is clear some people have no idea about work in television," Mr Callaghan said. "Although it is good to see that Big Brother bashing is alive and well."

Channel Ten dumped the reality television series due to declining ratings. This year's series launch was the worst performing since the show's debut in 2001 but fans have been promised Big Brother will end with a bang.

The series winner, who will receive $250,000, will be crowned tomorrow night. The finale will also feature a dance by evicted housemates. The show also promises nostalgia, with former series winners including fish-and-chip shop owner turned flight attendant Regina Bird.


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