Irish Equity update to the wider acting community

There has been a lot of confusion over recent months regarding the status of Irish Equity and its relationship with SIPTU and Equity UK. While we have been communicating regularly with our members, we are aware that a number of Irish actors are not active members of Irish Equity or are members of our sister union in the UK.

Following our AGM on Sunday 13th October 2013, we’d like to take this opportunity to update the wider acting community on the latest developments.

The meeting was addressed by representatives of Irish Equity, SIPTU and Equity UK, including the President of Equity UK, the President of Irish Equity and the SIPTU Vice-President.

Other speakers included the Assistant General Secretary of Equity UK, a Councillor from Equity Northern Ireland, the Vice-President of Irish Equity and the SIPTU Arts and Culture Sector Organiser.

Each clarified the nature of the meetings and negotiations which have been taking place over the last year between these three parties.

Last year, initial contact was made and the many outstanding issues facing Irish actors were outlined. Since then, the three parties have continued to meet to find ways of working together to further the cause of Irish actors. This has already resulted in the beginnings of significant signs of change in the areas of TV/Film contracts, social welfare difficulties and international cooperation.

At the AGM, Irish Equity, Equity UK and SIPTU were all in agreement that:

– at present, Equity UK are not in a position to negotiate on behalf of Irish actors.

– SIPTU is making real and tangible efforts to address actors’ concerns

– the Executive is firmly progressing the concerns of members, including the motions of last year’s AGM

– this process should come under review in the months ahead to assess progress

– in the meantime, it is in the best interests of all parties to have a stronger, more active membership

In terms of a timescale for the review process, the Executive will continue to assess from month to month the progress being made across all key areas. In addition, there will be two general meetings in the coming year.

The usual cycle of AGMs will resume in 2014 with the meeting due to be held on Palm Sunday, 13 April 2014, and a follow up general meeting will also be held in around twelve months’ time to assess the progress being made. At this stage, all three parties stand to re-examine their position.

All parties were agreed that the best way of strengthening the position of Irish actors is to increase our membership, intensify our activity and raise our collective voice. Our position in negotiations over the next twelve months will only be as strong as the number of actors we represent. So, to all those who have drifted away from the union over the years, this is the time to re-engage. No matter where we end up in twelve months time, the stronger Irish Equity is in the meantime, the more chance we have of fighting for the rights of all Irish actors.

The minutes of the 2013 AGM will be made available on the members’ only area of the website within the next week so that Irish Equity members can get a more detailed report on the proceedings.