The majority of Equity members will not vote on this agreement, and some will be firmly convinced that they should be able to vote, either because they have not yet worked on the West End agreement, but they could very well do so in the coming year, or because they have experience in the West End, but outside the parameters that we have set for voting – that is, these, who worked on the West End agreement over the three years beginning October 5, 2020. A new agreement between SOLT and Equity has been reached to assist actors during the suspension of West End productions and is considered the best framework to maintain the long-term job security of actors and other actors in these unprecedented times. The agreement was strongly supported by all parties concerned and described as the “best way forward” for the theatre sector. It covers all perspectives and contingencies, well-established musicals that have been running for a long time, plays that have only limited constraints to shows that have yet to be opened and productions that were still in rehearsal after the shutdown was announced. No union recommends a deterioration of conditions lightly. In this case, we do so because we have reached the limit of the concessions we have been able to obtain from SOLT. Their initial equity proposals on the changes they wanted to make to the agreement were far worse than the final position we are now presenting to members. Originally, SOLT tried to change the category of theatre according to the contracts issued, reduce payments over time, obtain proportional responsibilities and include the increased proportional minimum. What you`re voting on now is the smallest set of variations SOLT needs to encourage its producers to return to work in our West End theatres. The new agreement provides the best possible framework for the long-term job security of performers and the recovery of the West End in these unprecedented circumstances and is strongly supported by all parties involved as the best way for the sector. It covers all eventualities and perspectives, from long-running musicals to limited-edition plays, productions that have not yet been opened, and shows that are still taking place in rehearsal when the shutdown began. We are responsible for negotiating and implementing a number of collective agreements with Equity, BECTU and The Musicians` Union.
These agreements define the minimum payment and conditions applicable to the entire sector for the engagement of actors, stage management, creatives, technicians and musicians. Equity is a union of 48,000 employees in the entertainment industry. Some of them have never worked (and never will) at the West End Agreement for Performers and Stage Managers, because they are directors or designers and therefore work at another union convention or because they are part of our 10,000 strong Variety members – comedians, burlesque actors, cabaret singers, etc. .