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Equity preparing fresh case for actors in minimum wage row

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Union Equity is maintaining that four actors involved in a profit share production in 2012 should be paid the minimum wage, stating that it will make “fresh representations” to an employment tribunal over the issue.

The union’s comments follow a ruling published last week from the Employment Appeal Tribunal about a case involving four actors involved in a fringe production directed and produced by Gavin McAlinden.

Supported by Equity, the four members had previously brought a tribunal against McAlinden, in which they stated there were entitled to pay and holiday pay under minimum wage legislation.

Last year’s tribunal ruled that the actors should have been paid minimum wage – despite the production being advertised as profit share – because they qualified as “workers” under the definition of the National Minimum Wage Act and the Working Time Regulations 1998.

However, the appeal found that the judge in last year’s ruling had failed to consider whether or not the actors were in fact self-employed professionals, rather than workers, and therefore not entitled to the minimum wage. The case will now be heard again.

Responding, Equity organiser Paul Fleming said that the original tribunal had agreed that the actors were entitled to minimum wage.

“The appeal judge has not determined that they are not workers. He has decided that one particular area of the legislation was not sufficiently canvassed and has returned it to the employment tribunal for further consideration,” he said.

Fleming added: “There is nothing in the appeal judgement that would lead the union to conclude our members were not workers in this case and so we will make fresh representations to the reconvened employment tribunal.”

Fleming said the most “disappointing thing” was that its members would now have to wait “even longer for the money which we believe is rightfully theirs”.

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