Calls for Equity to be dissolved have been rejected.
The walk-on and supporting artists’ committee called for the “dissolution of the union” at the Annual Representative Conference, claiming forthcoming changes to the union’s democratic structure do not protect the interests of its own members.
Under the new structure, which was agreed following a referendum earlier this year, committees that represent skills – such as choreography, theatre designers, walk-ons and supporting artists – will be scrapped, with new ones introduced that represent sections of the industry. This will decrease the total number from 26 to 18.
However, walk-ons have argued that this will leave them poorly represented, and presented the motion calling for the union’s dissolution in response.
Maggie Hevicon-Thompson, from the committee, said she and her fellow members “felt angry and frustrated”. She added that they felt there was no alternative but to call for the union to be dissolved according to union rule 43, which states that dissolution shall take effect “whenever at a representative conference a motion to that effect obtains a two-thirds majority and is afterwards submitted to the vote of all members by referendum”.
Backing the motion, Equity member Yvonne Joseph said the motion had not been put forward out of “malicious or mischievous intent” but to raise discussion about the support of “vulnerable” members of the union. The motion was overwhelmingly rejected by members.