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Yorkshire Ridings Branch Newsletter Mar '14

13 March 2014

What Do You Want from Equity?

What does Equity do well? What could the union do better? What would you like Equity to do that it isn’t doing at the moment? At this month’s Branch Meeting, you will have the chance to hear from and put your questions to Equity’s chief national officer - General Secretary Christine Payne. We hope you can come along on:

Wednesday 19 March


at Arts@Trinity

Holy Trinity Church, Boar Lane, Leeds, LS1 6HW

Christine Payne has worked for Equity since 1979. She was elected General Secretary in 2005 and plans to stand for election for a third five year term in 2015. Since becoming General Secretary, Christine has worked to increase the prominence of the Equalities agenda in Equity and has also presided over the recent controversial reorganisation of Equity’s structure. Christine is keen for Equity to engage with the wider trades union movement and is the first ever Equity General Secretary to sit on the TUC General Council.

Arts@Trinity is a short walk from Leeds railway station. For parking Trinity Leeds car park in Swinegate is recommended.


Goodbye Yvonne …

We are sad to say farewell to our Treasurer, Yvonne Okyere-Whalley. Yvonne joined our Branch Committee in 2012 and was an observer at the 2013 ARC. She will shortly be returning to Ghana to join her husband and family. We would like to thank Yvonne for her work for our Branch and we send her our best wishes for the future.


… Can You Help Make Our Branch Better?

We need to strengthen our Branch Committee as two of the members who were elected at the AGM have resigned. If you have ideas on how we can make our Branch more relevant to you as members we would love to hear from you. We would particularly welcome new committee members who can help to improve the Branch’s social media presence or help with fund raising. We would also like to encourage Women and younger members to get involved – while we welcome the contribution made by current committee members, we are aware that the committee is currently dominated by older white men and we wish to achieve a better membership balance. The Committee has adopted a collective working policy which can be downloaded at: If you are interested in joining the Committee, or want to know more, please ring Pete Keal on 01422 885211 or e-mail


Council Supports Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

Equity’s Council has voted to support Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign’s call for a public enquiry into the policing of the 1984 Miners’ Strike. Backing a Yorkshire Ridings Branch motion, the Council took the view that “Trade union legal rights and privileges under UK law are crucial to Equity in fulfilling its duties to members ... Serious allegations have been made that these legal rights ... were breached at Orgreave. An inquiry into what happened ... would help to establish whether these allegations are well founded.” The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign’s web site is at:

Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign is holding a demonstration outside the northern Independent Police Complaints Commission office - Pioneer House, Woolpacks Yard, Wakefield, WF1 2SG on Friday 28th March 2014 at 1pm. Yorkshire Ridings General Branch Committee will be asking the March Branch Meeting to support this demonstration including taking the Equity Yorkshire Area Banner there.


Trades Union Activist Skills Training

Your Branch Committee is organising a 3 day Trades Union Skills course in conjunction with Leeds College’s Trade Union Studies Department. The course will cover areas such as chairing meetings, minute taking, Equal Opportunities, recruiting new members, IT for union activists and Social Media. A Leeds City Centre venue will be arranged and the course will take place on Tuesdays 24 June, 1 & 8 July from 10am – 5pm each day. The course will be free and participants need to be able to commit for all 3 days. If you would like to join this course, please e-mail by 31 May.


Look What You Missed!

Only 5 members came to the February meeting, so the Branch will not be able to send a motion to this year’s ARC. Branch Chair Gordon Steff said: “The talk from York Theatre Royal’s Artistic Director Damian Cruden at February’s Branch meeting was a great learning curve essential to Equity’s membership and the entire profession.”


Can You Help us to Raise Some Money?

Your Equity Branch holds a Raffle to raise money for branch funds at each meeting 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.   

Your Branch also needs help with Fund Raising. If you can help with this, please e-mail


A purchaser's guide to house buying

This second Legal Advice Column from Morrish Solicitors looks at house purchase:

So, how can a potential purchaser prepare for the purchase process? Here are a few useful tips if you are thinking of buying a property, whether you are a first time buyer, looking for a larger family home, or even down-sizing.

  • Shop around for the best mortgage product around. There are so many now it can be daunting, so perhaps speak with a mortgage adviser. For union members and members of other professional bodies, there are often links to lenders or professional advisers who can obtain a preferential product for you.
  • Speak to a solicitor or conveyancer early on to get an idea of legal costs – remember to factor in searches, Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty as well. And make sure that any quote you are given for legal costs is up front, and contains no hidden extras. Some less scrupulous firms may give you a seemingly very cheap headline fee to attract you, but will then reveal the very many extras once you have committed to them.
  • Always have a survey done – the most detailed you can afford. Remember, whilst a seller cannot lie about a property, they have no obligation to disclose information relating to the state and condition of a property unless you specifically ask them the question. The doctrine of “Buyer Beware” applies, so make sure that you check things like the boiler and the electrics. And make sure that you flag up any potential issues to your solicitor – matters such as complex parking arrangements, extensions, any concerns you may have about the boundaries.
  • Similarly, always have searches carried out if recommended by your solicitor. If you are having a mortgage, your lender will insist on all searches being carried out. However, even if you are buying for cash,
  • there may be relevant issues such as contamination, flooding, breaches of planning requirements that you would not find out without the relevant search. Better to spend an extra £100 at the outset, than have a nasty shock after moving in which could cost thousands to resolve.
  • Set realistic target dates, and remember that nothing is set in stone until the all important exchange of contracts.

At Morrish we know that moving can sometimes be a stressful experience, but our helpful and sympathetic property team will do all that we can to ensure that it is also an exciting and positive experience.

We offer all Equity members 15% discount on conveyancing fees (excluding disbursements, such as lender fee, etc).

If you would like advice, please call us on 033 3344 9600 and ask for our conveyancing and property department. Alternatively, please complete our contact us form at:


Dates for Future Branch Meetings

Wednesday 19 March 2.00pm - Branch Meeting at Arts@Trinity, Leeds with Christine Payne speaking.

April Branch Meeting in Leeds - to be arranged

Monday 12 May 2pm Meeting at Hull Truck Theatre.

Saturday 14 June 12.30pm - Election Hustings at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.

Saturday 5 July 12.30pm - Louise Grainger speaking on the Creating Without Conflict report on Harassment and Bullying in the Creative Industries at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.


Branch Contacts

Branch Secretary: Pete Keal, tel/fax 01422 885211; e-mail

Contact information for other Branch Officers:


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. Notes of the February 2014 Branch meeting will be available soon.

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South Yorkshire Variety Branch)

 If you have something you would like included in the Branch Newsletter, please e-mail

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

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