06 November 2020
Equity has started a petition to call on Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture, and DCMS to come to the table and work with Equity on a solution so older creative workers can safely return to work.
The future of the creative industries relies on immediate government action to support all of its workers, but current government schemes mean creative workers 60 and over can not get the insurance they need to safely return to work. If older workers in creative industries cannot return to their jobs, they will not only be excluded from work - but the entire sector will suffer.
The experience and talent of older workers cannot be replaced, and is central to the recovery of the industry.
Equity member Ann Louise Ross said: "I have recently lost work due to insurers refusing to cover me because of my age. While it is not unlawful it seems grossly unfair. I am fit and well and have no intention of retiring. I understand that Production companies can’t afford to take risks but I fear that agents will stop putting clients up for jobs which they are right for and more than capable of doing due to their age. We can’t just let this go without a fight for our rights!"
The campaign is being supported by actor and Equity member Tony Robinson, who said: "The elderly have been shamefully treated throughout the Covid crisis; hundreds of thousands stranded at home for months on end, or shut away in their care homes often lonely, frightened and confused. But it's less well known that they've also been subject to discrimination in the workplace, and this has been particularly true in the entertainment industry, where being over 70 has often given performers pariah status.
"Producers have cut older characters from their productions, as have the makers of TV commercials; insurers have declined to cover older people at work, even though the proposed DCMS scheme to get people back to work has been made inapplicable to the over-70s.
"It is of course vital that all workplaces should be Covid-proofed and safe for every employee. But this shouldn't mean older people are denied access to them. Society's task should be to provide environments where we can all live and work safely and mindful of the safety of others, not to discriminate against certain groups, denying them happiness, fulfilment and the right to earn a living."
Take action now and sign our petition at megaphone.org.uk/petitions/demand-support-for-older-workers-in-creative-industries