24 December 2020
Following today's announcement of a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU, Equity General Secretary Paul Fleming has said:
Equity's officials and I will spend Christmas poring over the details of the proposed Brexit deal. We have said from the very start that its implications for our industry cannot be overstated.
Simply put, our position has always been that the government should do all it can to ensure that Brexit does not harm our members, our industries or working people. It is not immediately clear that this deal does provide those safeguards. We will be setting tests at our January Council meeting which this deal has to meet - especially on workers' rights, intellectual property, the environment, creative industry funding, state aid, the rights of EU citizens, artist visas, and thriving creative industries across an island of Ireland at peace.
It is wrong to say this was a choice between this deal and no deal. There is a choice to keep talking, to extend the deadline beyond the pandemic and show a deal which stands up to scrutiny. It is brinkmanship alone which will deliver this option.
It is wrong to say that this is Brexit done - the work for our union and our movement goes on. At this moment we re-amplify our demands for proper physical paperwork to be given to EU citizens resident in the UK, for an artists visa scheme to allow travel, and a commitment to roll back neoliberal attitudes to state aid for our industry and beyond.
Like every battle for our members, it is folly to think that the power lies in the hands of governments or trade blocs. The cause of labour is the hope of the world - wherever you are. The opposition of the trade union movement ended the prospect of no deal; the support of our movement will build the best deal in the months and years to come.