Written by Kianna Best on Aug 22, 2023. Posted in General Interest

Britain continues to stand firm in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA strike

With a tone of gratefulness for the unwavering support, SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland joined a webinar with leading UK crew and actor unions Equity and Bectu. As strikes in the U.S. continue to press on, the effects on the UK industry have not gone unnoticed. Joining Crabtree-Ireland on the call were Bectu National Secretary Spencer MacDonald and Equity General Secretary Paul W. Fleming.


“The only reason these strikes are happening is these companies refuse to make fair and respectful deals with our members,” he declared. “There was no need for a strike, and I have been told that by members of the public when they see what our proposals are and really understand what we are fighting for.”


Image courtesy of SAG-AFTRA


In a display of continued transparency, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland addressed Equity and Bectu with a message of reassurance and understanding for how “members are hurting” outside the US, and specifically how the UK industry are being affected by the strike. Applauding the support, Crabtree-Ireland could only offer vague hopes as he reiterated that the negotiations are “ongoing”. Impacted by the strikes, UK based filming on a number of projects, including Wicked, Speak No Evil and Deadpool 3, have had to pause, leaving the thousands of crew members displaced and having to acclimatise to the job halt.


“We’ve already had a few instances where we’ve seen our members being asked to cover for work that may have been shot elsewhere or may well have been an American artist’s job,” Fleming stated. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure that that does not impact and indeed impact on people’s health and safety at work. In particular, where pressure’s being put on to meet unreasonable deadlines. We’re taking that as a very clear position with our members.”


With a host of British actors including notable names such as Imelda Staunton and Naomie Harris demonstrating in solidarity for their neighbours in the US in July, could the flame of the strike catch  in the UK? Whilst laws prohibit UK workers from actively joining the strike, many who are at the mercy of the postponed productions are bound by their contractual obligations. As frustrations rise and the strikes see no cease in sight, the potential of a UK strike, seem more probable day by day with Fleming warning of “heading into our own industrial dispute” with screen sector trade body Pact.


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