Incorporating the Variety Artistes' Federation
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Yorkshire Ridings Branch Newsletter July '13

6 July 2013

Young Members and Your Union !

Kezia Davis and Mal Kutub, members of Equity’s national Young Members  Committee will speak on ‘What Can Equity Do for Young Members? How Can Equity be Relevant?’ at our next Branch Meeting. Please come along on:

Saturday 13 July

12.30 pm please note change of time

West Yorkshire Playhouse
Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UP

Young members are the future of Equity. Equity’s Young Members Committee was set up to strengthen the voice young members have in the Union through campaigning on issues such as Low Pay, No Pay. Your Branch wants to encourage younger members to participate in the Union. 

However, attendance at our meetings is often largely by older members and Union meetings are often seen as a turn off. How can we change that in our Branch?

The meeting will also include the report back from Equity’s 2013 Annual Representative Conference, which was deferred from the last meeting.

For travel and parking information:


An Equity Banner for Yorkshire

Last November, we reported that the Branch wanted to commission an Equity Trades Union Banner for the Yorkshire Region. We have made progress with the design work and the Branch Committee has decided it wishes York Disabled Workers Co-operative to print a cloth banner. The current working design for the banner can be seen at A set of poles for the banner has also been donated to us.

The estimated cost of the banner is £430 and we are grateful to Morrish Solicitors for sponsoring a substantial part of this. We need to raise a further £100 to cover the cost of printing the banner and have approached the 3 Yorkshire Variety Branches for support. So far, one has made a donation and a second has indicated that it will.

We will be asking the July Branch meeting to agree to proceed with ordering the banner subject to the remaining funding being secured.


ARC 2013 and the New Union Structure

As was reported in last month’s Newsletter, Yorkshire Ridings Branch’s motion calling for monitoring how the new Equity structure affects members in English regions and members previously represented by now abolished specialist committees was defeated at the ARC. Indeed, most of the motions that had been submitted about the new Union structure were also lost. Now that elections for the new committees are taking place, the new structure will soon be a reality. While there are benefits to the reorganisation, some problems remain with the way the new structure is being implemented.

One of these relates to the new Area Networks, which will consist of the Area Councillor and the Secretaries of all the Branches in each area (or their substitutes). While these Area Networks are better than nothing, they will not have a policy making role. One of our ARC representatives argued that these Area Networks should be allowed to submit motions to Council and the ARC at the Conference.

In addition some of the eligibility to vote criteria in the current elections have proved to be complicated. One of the Branch officers has made representations that Storytelling and acting can overlap and that there may be instances where storytellers should be eligible to vote in the Stage Committee elections. However, this has been met with a stonewall response that Storytellers are only entitled to vote in the Variety, Circus and Entertainers elections. (We have been asked to clarify that if a storyteller has also worked on stage as an actor, s/he can vote in both the Stage and the Variety Committee elections.)

Officers of the Branch intend to bring policy proposals about both these issues to the July Branch meeting.


Can You Spare a Raffle Prize?

Your Equity Branch will be having a raffle to raise money for branch funds at each meeting from now on and we need prizes! Can you donate a prize for a future raffle? It would be a good opportunity to recycle something you no longer want for a good cause! If you can spare a raffle prize, please bring it to any branch meeting.


Have You Voted Yet?

You have until 12 noon on Friday 12 July to vote. Elections are being held for Equity’s three new industrial committees - Screen; Stage and Variety, Circus and Entertainers. Voting is also taking place for four industrial sub-committees - Audio; Singers; Stage Management and Creative Team. In addition, members have the chance to choose who should serve on Equity’s four equality committees - Women, Disability, Minority Ethnic and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender as well as the Young Members’ Committee.

To vote on-line, log in to and click the Vote Now button. You will need the serial number from your ballot paper to register to vote. Please vote in these important elections.


Notes from our June Branch Meeting

Over 40 people came to the Branch's first meeting at ITV Yorkshire last month. This is the most we have had at one of our meetings for some time. It was good to welcome members from all parts of Yorkshire, CountyDurham and Manchester! We hope to see lots of you at future meetings and that we will no longer have to struggle with inquorate meetings that cannot take important decisions.

The highlight of the meeting was a Casting Question and Answer Session with Faye Styring and Sophie Poulston of ITV Yorkshire. Members asked for advice about how to get considered for auditions and raised issues such as casting Black Actors and Actors with disabilities. A full report of this session will be included in the Minutes of the June meeting which will be available for download from the Branch web site soon.

The meeting passed a motion in support of the Coalition of Resistance People's Assembly against Austerity and the Cuts that took place on Saturday 22 June.

We also discussed a motion from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. Unfortunately, this was withdrawn, but the Committee will consider bringing this back to the July meeting as it is a cause several of us feel strongly that the Branch should support. The Branch's delegate proposed the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign motion to the last Calderdale Trades Council meeting which supported it unanimously and donated £50 to the campaign.

The Branch meeting passed a third motion calling on Equity nationally to meet the expenses of Equity Council and Committee members when they come to speak at Branch meetings in the same way that it meets the expenses of Equity staff in such circumstances.


Dates for Future Branch Meetings:

Monday 2 September2pm - Informal Meeting and social at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.

Saturday 7 SeptemberMidday – a second Informal Meeting and social at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds. Come to either or both!

Saturday 12 October Annual General Meeting in York; further details soon.


Branch Resources:

The Standard Agenda for Branch Meetings can be read at A copy of the Standard Agenda can be downloaded at

To download the minutes of past Branch Meetings, go to and click on Documents. Minutes of Branch Meetings since Nov 2012 are now available. You will need to log in to the Equity Web site with your membership number and your password before the Minutes can be downloaded. Minutes of the June 2013 meeting will be available soon.


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A Large Print version of this Newsletter can be downloaded from the Branch Web Site

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