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Equity announces new agreement for West End theatre

Negotiations for a new agreement in the West End have now concluded and the ballot on SOLT’s final offer has now closed.

We can confirm that a whopping 94.09% of members have voted ACCEPT from a turnout of 80.35% eligible members.

The new agreement will see historic improvements including, but not limited to:
  • A 9% increase to minimum rates in year one, 5% in year two and at least 2% in year three subject to CPI inflation

  • A guaranteed 16.7% increase to minimums within 24 months, and in the event of CPI being higher than 5% in year three, a return to the negotiating table

  • Stage management to see differentials to increase by the headline % each year, Stage Managers to be included in betterment, plus a new weekly responsibility fee of £25 and per show fee for Stage Management team members covering more senior roles

  • 33% increase to swing fees up to £120 a week

  • 21% increase to relocation allowance up to £220 a week

  • 12.5% increase to Dance Captain fees up to £135 a week

  • 43% increase to Principle/leading role cover fees up to £50

  • 36% increase to Supporting role cover fees up to £30

  • Sunday performance fee to increase by the headline % each year

  • Holiday embargo periods now to be specified at point of contract

  • A working group to be formed to develop models of best practice for a five-day rehearsal week with a view to trial in 2023

These incredible improvements have been won with no detrimental trade-offs and the result of the ballot now confirmed with SOLT.

This result would not have been possible without the hard work of the West End Deps, Equity members and everyone who supported the #standupfor17 campaign.

For those in contract increases will be backdated to 3rd April 2023, and work will soon be underway to progress the five-day working rehearsal week, which will be fed into by our members and led by Equity General Secretary, Paul W Fleming, alongside the joint SOLT CEOs.

If you are in contract and have any questions about the new agreement, please contact Equity’s Official for the West End Hannah Plant.

Paul W Fleming, Equity General Secretary, said:

"This is an excellent deal, and a deal which belongs to our members who have worked so hard to achieve this result and voted for it overwhelmingly.

It is the start of an ambitious process which will see me, the SOLT Chief Executives, and our members working to progress trials of the 5-day rehearsal working week.

Our strong, constructive, but robust, industrial relations have delivered a meaningful shift in pay and conditions at a time of extraordinary pressure for bosses and workers alike."

Hilary Hadley, Assistant General Secretary, Live Performance, said:

“I have pleasure in announcing our new Agreement for the West End which is a credit to the work of both the Equity Negotiating Committee and Campaign Group and the SOLT negotiating Committee.  The new Agreement has received huge support from our West End workforce in the ballot closed today.  Negotiations were both constructive, and challenging, given the long shadow of the pandemic.

This new Agreement reflects new confidence in the recovery, provides a further welcome boost to minimum rates. Most importantly the large increases to the Understudy/Swing payments recognises at last the true value of our hardworking Understudies and Swings who save so many shows from cancellation.

For Stage Management, for the first time there is a responsibility payment for acting up to a more senior role, together with a performance payment. Again this new Agreement reflects the true value of our Stage Management to the West end Producers.”

Rebecca Louis, Chair of West End Deputies Committee, said:

“I am extraordinarily proud of being the Chair of our West End Deputies Committee and of all of our West End members for their engagement, support and solidarity throughout the negotiations.”

Robert Noble, Chair of SOLT Negotiation Committee, said:

“Given the current economic difficulties facing both SOLT and Equity members, these negotiations were always going to be difficult and challenging. However, through constructive dialogue and a professional approach by all those involved in in the negotiation process a settlement has been reached which acknowledges the commitment and support shown by Equity and its members during the pandemic and seeks to address as far as is possible, the continuing economic challenge that we all continue to face.

The enduring and strong relationship between SOLT and Equity is further evidenced by the settlement receiving the very strong support of members of both organisations.”

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