10JOD Per Diems


Acting on behalf of Talal, Fozan just this minute ushered Abdul into the quiet of the boardroom and tried to persuade Abdul to accept JOD$10 per day per diems when he goes to Doha.

I had already calculated that the minimum required is $65 per day, and Abdul’s salary is much lower than the international crew’s. At that rate, I’ve calculated that Abdul would actually be losing money if he went there. In fact, by the end of the first month, he would be in debt.

Talal has been to Doha enough times to know this. Fozan must know this as he’s worked abroad himself. It’s at times like this that I am very disappointed in Fozan and he reminds me that he cannot be trusted either.

As for Talal…?

To Doha Or Not To Doha – Part 3


Yesterday, Abdul got a called from Majid, telling him that ATP needed his passport and that he was going to Doha. He wasn’t asked. He was just told. Abdul wasn’t very happy about that.

Fozan has also been told he is going. Yesterday, he sat in a secret meeting with Talal and Ibrahim. I know because I was told by someone else about it (someone who should not have known). In fact, Talal was still supposed to be in Doha and – this is not the first time – he had lied about when he was coming back.

This morning, Chris, Ray, Smithers, Andy Dunn, Terry and I had a meeting to discuss our needs if we were to go to Doha. It was a bit unfocused but we got there in the end. Fozan turned up midway through the meeting and asked if he could join us. Chris politely agreed but from that point on everyone believed we had a spy in the room.

Anyway, the list is below. This is a reasonable list. In fact, on a show of this scale everything here should already be provided. The international industry knows this but apparently not ATP:-

CREW NEEDS

WORK DAYS, WAGES AND PER DIEMS

  1. Five day weeks for pre-production. (we’re doing six)
  2. Eleven day fortnights during filming with 11th day as prep.
  3. Crew wages adjusted so all crew paid on Sunday.
  4. Proof of pay emailed out each Sunday.
  5. Wages paid at end of each work week – not one week in arrears. (I’ve calculated they are on average 12 days late)
  6. All wages and per diems up to date before departure to Qatar.
  7. Per diems paid at the start of each week. (they’re always late too and are paid in arrears)
  8. Per diems USD$65 per day. USD$455 per week. (Doha costs six times more than Jordan and per diems of $100 per day is perfectly normal so this is far from being an unreasonable request)
  9. Shatat and Emad to go and two have per diems same as rest of crew. (we’ve heard rumours they would get less)
  10. USD $50 financial penalty for each day wages or proof of pay or per diems are late.
  11. Clarity on what per diems are for.

ACCOMMODATION & TRANSPORT  & FACILITIES IN DOHA

  1. Breakfast included in accommodation cost.
  2. Lunch paid by company during prep and shoot.
  3. Hotel min four stars. Own room or personally serviced apartment.
  4. No room or apartment sharing.
  5. Shatat and Emad in same hotel as rest of art dept.
  6. Accommodation approval before plane tickets bought. (clearly, we do not trust them)
  7. All transport costs covered in Doha to and from work, work-related places and airports. (as above)
  8. Minimum of five new vehicles (two being 4WD pickups) and one driver for exclusive use by Art Dept.
  9. 100% reliable Internet everywhere. Every crew member to have own company-paid dongle with minimum 15GBs per month and no service interruption due to pay-as-you-go schemes. (to date, the internet has been very very unreliable and ATG’s IT department seem clueless about how to fix it – oh, and they use pay as you go)
  10. Company phones for all crew members supplied on first arrival at hotel. (this has been a problem previsously)

INSURANCE AND PERMITS

  1. Written proof of medical insurance. (we don’t have any yet)
  2. Written proof of equipment insurance. (we don’t have any yet)
  3. ATP responsible for sorting out all Visa, work permit and residence permit issues on time.
  4. Upon termination of a crew-member contract by any party for any reason, ATP to sort out Exit Visas and to provide economy flight home within two week and to continue paying wages and per diems until they leave. (given they are holding Natasha ‘hostage’, the idea of them controlling exit visa’s does not appeal at all)
  5. ATP to ensure crew will not be asked to relinquish passports at any time.

FLIGHTS & HOLIDAYS

  1. All excess baggage to and from Doha paid for at airports by ATP rep. (still don’t trust them)
  2. ATP to arrange access to reduced cost flights.
  3. Ten days paid leave inclusive of flight every six months, starting from our start dates.
  4. EID paid holiday.

Natasha


Natasha is a make-up artist who was working on Malik. Two weeks ago she was told she is no longer needed. She is still getting wages but no per diems and, despite numerous requests to Production for a flight home, she has received no answer. She is stuck here without any per diems, essentially being held hostage by ATP.

Water Tank Farce


So the tanks finally shipped last Sunday (despite ATP’s knowing we all have to go to Doha now) — nearly three months after I first asked for them (thanks, Ibrahim). And over a month after they were ready for shipping (thanks, Tareq). Of course the funny part is now they need to go to Doha but they won’t be because they’re on their way to Aqaba.

They’ll arrive in Aqaba on July 9th at which point they’ll need to be transported to Doha.

Monty Python couldn’t make this stuff up.

On the bright side, if this show goes belly up, at least we’ll have some pretty cool swimming pools set up on the biggest stage in the Middle East!

To Doha Or Not To Doha – Part 2


I went down to breakfast today and bumped into Dominic Smithers, Ray, Terry and Andy. They told me that Simon and Chris had been in the lobby last night and Simon said that Talal had called him and told him we are definitely relocating to Doha. And that we are doing so ASAP.

I had a long chat with Andy who wondered, like me, if ATP might insist we sign the contract before leaving. So I texted Chris and asked him to send me his BBC contracts (which he had previously offered to do) and his revised ATP contract (if he has it). Chris texted me saying he’d sort that out. He then called saying I should suggest to everyone that they make a list of their ‘demands’ tomorrow. Things like higher per diems. Five day weeks during prep. Proper transport around Qatar. Paid holidays and flights. Basically, all the stuff any normal production company would have already given us.

So tomorrow we will be listing our collective requirements, possibly revising the contract accordingly, and – well, that’s it.

Of course, Qatar costs a LOT more than Jordan. If the Studio really wants it shot there, they need to spend a LOT more money. But there’s the slightly sticky problem of that contract ATP signed where they promised to deliver for about $40 million regardless of where they shoot. So we may be back here in a month when they realise there is no way they can shoot it there for the budget they have.

Unless of course, they realise that giving more money to ATG is just throwing money down the toilet.