New West End deal agreed
2 May 2013
The Equity Council has ratified a new agreement for West End theatre after a further period of consultation with members who are currently working or have recently worked in the West End.
The key change that members wanted in the new agreement was to take non-leading covers out of the minimum salary. That has been achieved and in the new agreement payments for covers will be negotiable.
There is also an important improvement in the non-show injury arrangements. In the old agreement cast members were paid half salary for up to four weeks if they were unable to perform as a result of an injury not incurred during a show or rehearsal.
The new agreement gives full salary for up to four weeks. The agreement also gives a 2.2% pay increase on minimum salaries backdated to 1 April 2013.
But while the deal negotiated by Equity was being voted on for the first time members started to express concern about SOLT’s proposal for a second Sunday show. This issue has now been resolved. After a period of renegotiation with SOLT it has been agreed that the second Sunday show will be subject to a pproval by all those involved before it can g o ahead.
The Equity Council took these concerns seriously and told SOLT that Equity could make an agreement only if the second show on a Sunday were done with the consents.
SOLT was taken by surprise by this as their proposals on Sundays had been a part of their claim at the outset. Initially SOLT said that they might withdraw the improvement in the non-show injury provisions in the face of what the y saw as a change of position by Equity, but they eventually agreed to leave non-show injury improvements in their proposals and agreed that the second show on Sunday would have to be by agreement of company members.
The price SOLT extracted for these concessions was moving the implementation date of the new agreement from 14 January to 1 April.
West End members have now voted by 82% to approve this offer.
At the Council meeting Assistant General Secretary Stephen Spence praised the West End Deputies Committee for their leadership in this process and also paid tribute to Equity’s West End Organiser Virginia Wilde and Head of Live Performance Department Hilary Hadley for their hard work throughout the negotiations.
A detailed summary of the key changes in the West End contract is available for download from the Equtiy web site: West End final settlement.
You can read more about decision made at the April meeting of the Equity Council by downloading the April Council Report.