11 June 2019
Following extensive negotiations and a ballot of members currently or recently working in the West End, we're pleased to announce the new West End Agreement.
The deal secures a number of our key objectives, achieved through the negotiation process with SOLT. There are real financial gains, along with improvements that you can't put a price on. 98% of members balloted voted in favour of the agreement.
Here are a few of the headlines:
- No reductions, trade-offs or detrimental changes
- Real terms year 1 increase in minima, with protection against economic uncertainty in later years, bringing the category A basic rate above £700/week for the first time
- Our claim met in full for increases to understudy responsibility payments, dance captains and swings, yielding increases of between 29% and 44% for those members who were most strongly and widely felt to need a boost
- Christmas day to be a free day off, without reduction in salary or holiday entitlement
- Rights to flexible working such as job shares incorporated into contract
- Improvements to casting, equalities and dignity at work clauses, taking forward recommendations of our Agenda for Change and Manifesto for Casting including:
- Dignity at work policies and procedures
- Commitments to inclusive casting and improving opportunities for disabled performers
- A timely #YesOrNo following auditions
- Stage Management differentials up to £65
- Clarification of the operation of buyouts, to ensure they never undercut the agreement
- A new clause recommending preventative measures on physical shows to reduce injuries
We have also secured commitments to take forward important work over the coming months:
- Joint working towards a 5 day working week in initial rehearsals, which will include SOLT and Equity’s Theatre Directors
- A working party to set up a new system for fairly dealing with covering payments in ensemble-led theatre
There are plenty more improvements, so look out for a bit more detail in the coming weeks. Equity's West End Organiser, Emmanuel de Lange, said: "I am delighted that our members who work in West End Theatre have so overwhelmingly voted in favour of the new West End Agreement we have negotiated with SOLT.
This new Agreement delivers important improvements in our members terms and conditions, reflecting many of the union’s priorities going into the negotiations.
As well as pay increases, notably for some of our hardest working members engaged as swings, covers and dance captains, this deal takes important steps in reflecting progress in wider society and delivers recommendations of Equity’s recent campaigns: the Manifesto for Casting and our Agenda for Change.
Commitments have also been made by the Managers to further discussions post implementation, which Equity hopes will be fruitful and which will prepare the ground for further changes which will benefit all members and particularly those with family or caring responsibilities.
Credit is due to both the SOLT and Equity Working Parties for bringing this negotiation to a positive conclusion.”
The new agreement will take effect very soon.