Wed 16 Dec, 2020

In this time of crisis, Equity’s members need effective representation more than ever, so for the UK leadership of the union to axe jobs and weaken its offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is shocking Ross Greer

Scotland’s unique culture and arts scene must have full trade union representation, Scottish Green culture spokesperson Ross Greer has said.

The comments come after Scottish actors and theatre workers launched a petition begging their union, Equity, to reverse a decision to axe staff working for members in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Over a thousand Scottish actors have signed it, including former cast members of Still Game and River City.

Equity’s new General Secretary Paul Fleming has indicated Northern Ireland will no longer have an officer and will be controlled directly from London, while the office in Scotland will run at reduced capacity. Staffing in Wales is also set to be cut.

None of these decisions were taken in consultation with members.

Commenting, Scottish Greens culture spokesperson Ross Greer said: “Scotland has a unique culture and world-famous arts sector of its own, one whose existence is threatened by both pandemic restrictions and by Brexit. In this time of crisis, Equity’s members need effective representation more than ever, so for the UK leadership of the union to axe jobs and weaken its offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is shocking. It’s certainly not the behaviour of a union that works for its members, who I understand were not even consulted.

“This has to be seen in the wider political context too, as Scotland is dragged out of the EU and the UK Government seeks further control over our affairs. Too often Scottish culture is devalued and actors made to feel as though they must go to London to succeed. Their trade union should be standing against that London bias, not enabling it.”

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