17 September 2021
Last week (12 - 14 September) Equity and other trade unions across the country came together for the 153rd TUC Congress. The events took place online and over three days a range of motions were passed setting out the TUC’s agenda for the year.
As the largest UK trade union in the arts and entertainment industry, the TUC Congress provided a forum for Equity to debate the key issues facing working people. This ranged from the climate emergency to the Government’s damaging plans to cut the £20 uplift in Universal Credit. We also passed two important motions as part of our efforts to fight for our members and protect our industry.
The first motion we proposed was to drastically increase support for the cultural sector. The pandemic has exposed the fragile nature of the arts and culture sector in Britain. We believe that it is time to campaign for fundamental reform in order to redistribute wealth, income, power and decision-making. We put forward a comprehensive plan, which included expanding investment, promoting the role of creative arts education, as well as democratising and regionalising funding and decision-making structures.
Our second motion was to defend public service broadcasting and save Channel 4 from privatisation. It’s clear that the Government’s plans to privatise Channel 4 makes no economic sense and represents a divisive act of cultural vandalism. In fact, new independent research evidenced hugely damaging consequences for Channel 4’s supply chain, which could result in thousands of job losses.
Both of Equity’s motions passed unanimously and are now officially backed by the TUC, the 48 member unions, and the 5.5 million working people they represent. Elections were also held, which saw the appointment of the new TUC President Sue Ferns from Prospect union. Our very own General Secretary Paul W Fleming also joined the General Council and he will be working hard to ensure the voices of artists are heard.
Going forward, we will be working with the TUC and the trade union movement to campaign around our radical plan for the arts. More information about how you can get involved to implement real, constructive change in the industry can be found online.