Equity has vowed to argue the case for entertainment workers to the “highest levels of government”, as it outlines plans to secure a rescue package for people in the industry.
General secretary Christine Payne described the situation as an “unprecedented crisis” and said the union was negotiating with employers to get the “very best deals” for those affected by cancelled productions, shows and gigs.
It comes as the union puts its resources into supporting members, and urges them to back calls for an income guarantee over the coming months.
The union is asking members to support an Early Day Motion, tabled by Kevin Brennan MP, which calls on the government to introduce a temporary universal basic income or an emergency measure to help freelances and the self-employed affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
In addition, it is calling on members to lobby the chancellor to provide a rescue package for the creative industries, including the income guarantee for creative workers.
In a template letter that members can send to the chancellor, it warns that alternative employment many in the theatre sector rely on – including working as office temps, running workshops in schools, corporate roleplay, and gigs in care homes – is disappearing rapidly.
The union is also calling for changes to universal credit, including making it a grant rather than a loan.
“This is an unprecedented crisis and we will get through it by facing it together. Please be in no doubt that Equity is fighting for your livelihoods.
“We are arguing the case for entertainment workers to the highest levels of government; this includes an income guarantee over the coming months. We are negotiating with employers across all our sectors to get the very best deals we can as productions, shows and gigs are cancelled or placed on hiatus,” Payne said.