Equity Special Representative Conference 2021 decides union's agenda

Equity’s Special Representative Conference 2021 took place this weekend, passing a range of motions that will determine the union’s direction for the next year and into the future.

The conference spanned two days starting on Sunday 26 September. The event saw more than 100 delegates from the union’s Council, committees and branches gather in London to debate union policy and shape the future of Equity.

Among a long list of motions passed, conference called on Equity’s council to:

  • Launch a programme of work on menopause workplace rights, including a high-profile campaign and the development of best practice guidance.
  • Support negotiations with employers to make the provision of quality accommodation and an expenses allowance standard practice.
  • Ensure that Equity campaigns for reform of the UK Copyright Act.
  • Join the COP26 coalition, campaign for public investment in a green recovery and declare a Climate Emergency.
  • Designate 2022 the Year of Live Entertainment and encourage members to promote live entertainment in local communities.
  • Extend the membership amnesty to allow re-joins without charging a fee until the end of the year.

Equity General Secretary Paul W Fleming addressed the conference and emphasised the strength of the union and the successes of the last year. He highlighted the protection of theatre agreements during Covid-19, the launch of self-taping guidelines and the distribution of over £1.3 million to members in need during the pandemic. 

He also looked ahead to 2022, saying: “In the year to come we will come forward with proposals for a strengthening of our democratic structures, designed to facilitate more participation, establish more, better funded branches, open our conference to more delegates, and focus our policy making clout on the issues which matter most.”

In her address to the conference Equity President Maureen Beattie spoke about the widening divide between the wealthy and the poor in the arts. She also called on the union to challenge the government’s attempts to “whittle away” the industry.

She said: “As always the folk at the top, who have their hands on the purse strings, know the importance of the arts and the importance of our industry, but they want to keep it to themselves and we have to be careful about not letting that happen.”

Delegates also heard from a number of guest speakers in a video played to the conference. They were joined on video by Abdelfattah Abusrour of Alrowwad Cultural Centre in Bethlehem, Palestine, who made an appeal on behalf of the International Committee for Artists' Freedom.

Three members were made honorary life members: Ian Barritt, Bryn Evans and Rebecca Louis.

A summary of the motion results of Equity’s 2021 SRC can be found below. For the wording of each motion, see the SRC Final Agenda.

PASSED

Motion 1
Motion 2
Motion 3
Motion 4
Motion 5
Motion 6
Motion 7
Motion 8
Motion 9
Motion 10
Motion 11
Motion 14
Motion 15
Motion 16
Motion 18
Motion 21
Motion 22
Motion 23
Motion 24
Motion 25
Motion 26
Motion 27
Motion 28
Motion 32
Motion 34

REMITTED TO COUNCIL

Motion 12
Motion 13
Motion 33

WITHDRAWN

Motion 17
Motion 19
Motion 29
Motion 31

DID NOT PASS

Motion 20
Motion 30