08 April 2020
Equity has secured financial support for artists working in continuing dramas following the complete shutdown of production. This includes shows such as Holby, Casualty, Eastenders, Doctors, River City, Pobol y Cwm, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks.
The unions has been in intense and complex negotiations across the screen, audio and new media sector to secure the best deal for members during this crisis.
This unprecedented situation is one to which the terms of the collective agreements with the broadcasters and PACT (the employers’ negotiating group) were not designed to address. Therefore, Equity has been working with all of our negotiating partners to arrive at an agreement around emergency payments that can be made to artists to provide a level of financial support for the short and medium term until production can resume.
So far, Equity has negotiated payments with the employers for the continuing dramas so that artists who are regular cast members under contract on those programmes receive a monthly payment during the period when filming is suspended.
We are pleased to say that these monthly payments either meet or come very close to the benchmark set by the government with the schemes announced for employed and self-employed workers. We pushed very hard for more, but felt these were the best that could be achieved in light of the difficult economic climate.
It should be noted that artists’ pay across the various productions is a wide range and many are not paid significant sums. Plus, many artists on the casts of the continuing dramas will not meet the eligibility requirements for the government self-employed scheme and so it is crucial that they receive some financial support during this crisis. In times that are financially challenging on an unprecedented scale for artists and the industry as a whole, we are grateful to our negotiating partners for recognising the hardship that artists face where they cannot access other forms of support.
John Barclay, Head of Recorded Media at Equity said:
“By securing financial protection for artists now, we go some way towards safeguarding a vibrant future for the industry when this crisis is behind us and production can resume. I want to give a huge thank you to the Equity deps on the shows and Equity staff for their hard work and resilience during this challenging time.”