UK creative workers union Equity has posted a message of solidarity with SAG-AFTRA as it warned its own members about the legalities of joining the US actors Guild strike in the UK.
The union’s lawyers have advised that while the US strike scheduled to start on Friday is legal in the US it is not legal in the UK.
Equity wrote: “You will see that the primary legal problem is this: We have been advised by SAG-AFTRA that its strike is lawful according to United States law but we have been advised by our UK lawyers that it is not lawful under United Kingdom law.
“Consequently, a performer joining the strike (or refusing to cross a picket line) in the UK will have no protection against being dismissed or sued for breach of contract by the producer or the engager.
“Likewise, if Equity encourages anyone to join the strike or not cross a picket line, Equity itself will be acting unlawfully and hence liable for damages or an injunction. What follows is based on that advice from SAG-AFTRA and our lawyers.”
The advisory came as SAG-AFTRA leadership announced their strike would start at midnight on Thursday after contract talks with Hollywood studios and streamers ended without resolution.
Equity members who do not belong to SAG-AFTRA and are working in the UK on an Equity contract for a US producer where some of their colleagues may be working under SAG-AFTRA agreements are advised to continue working and should not be prevented from doing so by a SAG-AFTRA picket. Equity lawyers have stated that continuing to be employed should not affect Equity members’ future rights to join SAG-AFTRA. SAG-AFTRA cannot discredit performers who continue to perform under UK law.
Equity’s message in solidarity appears below:
Statement from the General Secretary of Equity, Paul W Fleming