Incorporating the Variety Artistes' Federation
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South East Branch Secretaries Network

17 February 2014

South East Region Network

Items of interest raised at meeting

Following the meeting of branch secretaries held at the end of 2013, members should find the below items of interest:

1. Brighton felt that their motion at a previous ARC regarding the increase in Equity Journal space dedicated to Branch news & meetings had not progressed despite it being voted for at ARC. We were asked to canvas members’ opinions as to whether more pages should be dedicated to ‘grass roots’ items rather than articles on ‘high profile’ known names. Given that we have recently been informed that the Equity Journal will now be publish 4 times a year, instead of 3, doing away with the Annual Review, do you think as readers you would prefer this? Give us your thoughts on and these can be forwarded at the next Network meeting.

2. After talks, Equity can now report that films pre-1981 are subject to a total & final buyout fee whilst those 1981-2002 & 2002-2010 now command Royalties of 3% of 20%. Members need to join BECS to get what they are due from past performances. If you have only joined the business more recently but are likely to have work aired abroad you still need to join BECS to obtain your dues.

3. New contract templates are now available for actors working on student films & films not for commercial release (see website).

Profit share deals on productions are under scrutiny & Equity has had success taking a producer/director to tribunal on behalf of members. He is to appeal but it is felt the original decision will be upheld. Minimum wage is to be paid to the relevant persons. There was concerns amongst representatives that genuine co-operative profit sharing productions (when one person takes responsibility for the organisation), as some branches work on joint productions whilst a number of members are ‘resting’, & professional/amateur productions may become entangled. Open book keeping with equal shares of profit was felt to be the answer along with officially being designated a co-operative. The oracle that is Stephen Spence has since clarified this, stating "To be a ‘worker’ for National Minimum Wage purposes, broadly speaking there needs to be a ‘master, who has entered into a contract, that will establish an obligation, which in turn creates ‘worker’ status for an individual...The bogus ‘profit shares’ that Equity members challenged had engagement with clear commercial intent through the with to generate profit with an individual who carried out the function of an employer’.

Christine Payne has raised the issue of Low Pay No Pay at the TUC to great acclaim.

4. The next branch secretaries is on the morning of Saturday 8 March at Guild House followed by the SE Region AGM in the afternoon (times to be announced) which you are all invited to. Make a day of it... a bit of shopping, the AGM & then a show as ideally placed in the West End.

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