After the national board of SAG-AFTRA officially called an actors’ strike on Thursday after contract negotiations with studios and streamers collapsed without an agreement, UK actors’ union Equity has expressed its support for the walkout in Hollywood, which will affect 160,000 union members. and has begun counseling its own members.
Equity Secretary Paul W. Fleming called the strike authorization a “bold move,” saying, “Equity fully supports our sister union in their call and the actions their board has agreed to.” There are bullish players in the stock market, too who try to undermine collective agreements. SAG-AFTRA has our full solidarity in this fight.”
He also addressed studios and their representation. “We are making it clear to the AMPTP and its members that they must take significant and expeditious action to meet the reasonable expectations of SAG-AFTRA members,” Fleming said. “The members of our unions and all entertainment unions around the world create the enormous wealth in our industry – it is right and fair that they have decent, modern wages and conditions.”
Equity said it will “organize demonstrations, rallies and protests over the coming days and weeks to show our solidarity with our sister union and their struggle”.
It was also shared detailed advice for creatives working in the UK who are Equity and/or SAG-AFTRA members. “Labour relations legislation in the UK is draconian and is often considered the most restrictive in the western world,” Fleming said. “The convoluted and damaging hurdles faced by all unions in the UK are a national disgrace and are in dire need of reform.” The unfortunate consequence of this framework is that what artists working in the UK – whether SAG -AFTRA and/or Equity members (or both) – may be different than their peers in the United States and other parts of the world. ”
For example, Equity said: “SAG-AFTRA has told us that the strike is legal under US law, but our UK lawyers have told us that it is not legal under UK law.” This means that an artist who in the UK following the strike “has no protection from being sacked or sued for breach of contract by the producer or the worker,” the union stressed. “If Equity encourages anyone to join the strike or not to cross a picket line, Equity itself is acting unlawfully and is therefore liable for damages or an injunction.”