Equity (trade union)

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Equity
Equity logo.png
Founded 1930
Country United Kingdom
Affiliation TUC, ICTU, STUC
Key people Malcolm Sinclair (President)
Christine Payne (General Secretary)
Office location London, United Kingdom
Website www.equity.org.uk

Equity (formerly known as the British Actors' Equity Association) is the trade union for actors, stage managers and models in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1930 by a group of West End performers.

Equity was one of the last of the closed shop unions in the UK. This was criticised in 1981 by the European Court of Human Rights[1] and made illegal in 1988, with the result that it is no longer a requirement that a professional actor be a member of Equity.[2][3][4]

Equity requires its members to have unique professional names.[5]

History[edit]

Like many other British trade unions, Equity operated a closed shop policy—it was not possible for someone to join unless they had had sufficient paid work, and most jobs were reserved for Equity card holders. In order to allow new members to join, there were a limited number of non-card holding jobs on regional productions. Whilst working on these productions, actors held a provisional membership card, and, on completing the requisite number of weeks, could apply for full membership, and thereafter work in the West End, or on film and television.

In 1976, Equity introduced a policy of refusing to sell programming to the South African Broadcasting Corporation, an action that led to a virtual blackout of British television in apartheid South Africa.

As a result of reforms of trade unions in the 1980s by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, and the introduction of European legislation, closed shop unions became illegal in the UK, and Equity discontinued this policy. However, in order to join, evidence must be provided of sufficient paid professional work.[6]

General secretaries[edit]

Presidents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Closed Shop". TalkTalk. 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Barnett, Laura (15 September 2010). "Equity boss Malcolm Sinclair answers your questions". The Guardian (London). Theatre Blog. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Equity in the 21st Century". Nerve (2). Summer 2003. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "More union trouble for Hurley". BBC News. 20 October 2000. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Your professional name". Equity. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "How can I join?". Equity. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Equity history" (PDF). Equity. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Branch AGM - West of England Variety Branch". Events during March 2013. Equity. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Smith, Alistair (22 July 2008). "Hamilton elected Equity president". The Stage. London. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Hemley, Matthew (15 July 2010). "Malcolm Sinclair becomes Equity president". The Stage (London). Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Malcolm Sinclair re-elected President". Equity. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Council: Equity Council 2012 - 2014". Equity. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]