Council Digest June 2020

As the Covid-19 crisis unfolded in March 2020 the Equity Council delegated their authority to the General Secretary until the end of May. This was extended by the Council until June 29th. At its meeting on 30 June 2020, the Equity Council (with its authority restored) made the following decisions:

  • To thank the Equity staff for their incredible work and support during the unprecedented and sudden impact of COVID-19. Council also recognises that this has been achieved with 25% of the staff on furlough and likely to remain furloughed until the autumn.
  • To thank the membership for their ongoing backing and activism during this period which has had a significant effect on the government and the strength of the union.
  • To thank the General Secretary for using the authority delegated to her by the Council in the best interests of the union, staff and members.
  • To amend the Rules & Standing Orders for branches and committees to enable them to undertake their normal business by remote means. Members attending a meeting remotely will count to towards the quorum; and that the arrangement will be reviewed by the Council before the end of the year.
  • To approve a detailed exploration into better and safer online platforms, with the longer-term objectives that all union meetings should have the flexibility to be sometimes physical, sometimes digital or a mixture of the two, and have the democratic authority to create motions and take decisions.
  • To defer to the 2020-2022 Council a decision on whether the union or candidates should be responsible for subtitling candidates’ own election campaign videos.
  • The Council received and responded to an interim report from the Independent Commission on Race Equality, and agreed to propose mediation between the union and the 9 former members of the Race Equity Committee who resigned in March 2020.
  • To approve the budget for the construction of a branch data portal to give branch official secure access to an online list of their branch members.
  • To approve new members of the union.
  • To approve members’ cases for legal protection.

 

The Council also discussed:

  • The government’s proposed roadmap for return to work for the live performance sector
  • Reports from the Entertainment and Events Working Group (a sub group of the DCMS Cultural Renewal Taskforce) which Equity is represented at
  • Guidance for working in pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality workplaces and evidence presented by Equity to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee
  • The June lobby of MPs calling for a further extension of the CJRS and SEISS for the creative sector, a hardship grant scheme for creative workers who have not been eligible for support through CJRS or SEISS and a rescue package for the industry including changes to creative tax reliefs and a modest increase in funding for the sector to 0.5% of GDP
  • The General Secretary’s meeting with the Secretary of State on 8 June and the Chancellor on 11 June
  • Covid-19 Emergency payments across film and TV productions
  • Return to work across film, TV, radio and gaming productions
  • Theatre variation agreements
  • The workers’ enquiry survey for variety and light entertainment
  • The Equity Benevolent Fund – as of 29 June the fund has provided £923,000 in support for members and more than £185,000 has been raised in addition to the £1,000,000 pledged by the union
  • The union’s second draft budget for 2020
  • Services for members
  • Social media during the President/Council/Standing Orders Committee/Appeals Committee elections
  • Staff and offices, including the return to office plans for Equity staff
  • The new sign on Guild House
  • Industry Recovery Plans

The Council marked the death of member and former councillor and vice-president Louis Mahoney, and the passing of honorary life member Tommy Wallis.