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May/June 1982: support for the Save Equity Campaign

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Jun. 10th, 1982 | 06:46 pm

In 1982, there was an Equity referendum on whether the union should accept money from the government for the purposes of balloting members under the terms of the new employment law. This would have resulted in expulsion from the TUC.
The text of a campaign advert in The Stage, 10 June 1982, is reproduced below.

Alone among trade unions Equity has decided to take money for some of its ballots under the terms of the government’s employment law. If it does so it will almost certainly be expelled from the TUC. The AGM overwhelmingly supported a motion to reverse Council’s short-sighted decision. Council declined to accept the AGM’s recommendation and has now put the motion to referendum. We urge you to vote APPROVE.

1. The 1982 Employment Bill puts at risk everything Equity has fought for over the last 50 years. It will render unenforceable our casting agreements in variety, theatre, films, TV and radio.

2. Equity should stand firm with all the other arts & entertainments unions against this threat.

3. By taking government money for our ballots we would be sacrificing our political independence.

4. This government money would not solve Equity’s financial problems. The financial advantage is unlikely to amount to more than £1.00 per member per year.

5. If this referendum is not won, expulsion from the TUC is virtually certain.

6. Outside the TUC we would have no protection against “poaching” by other unions. Many unions, among them ASTMS, NATKE, ABS, NUJ, NUT & NATFHE – would be happy to represent specific aspects of our profession, our employment would fragment (SEVERAL UNIONS – SEVERAL SUBSCRIPTIONS) and our union voice would be lost.

7. Outside the TUC we would have little chance of defending our professional standards effectively, especially in the new electronic media.

WE BELIEVE THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CHOICE YOU WILL EVER HAVE TO MAKE IN EQUITY AFFAIRS, AND THE CHOICE IS YOURS. WE ASK YOU TO CHOOSE WISELY AND TO APPROVE THIS RESOLUTION.

Michael Gothard evidently felt strongly enough to contribute financially to the Save Equity Campaign, who placed the advert, as his name appears in the list of supporters beneath the main points of both this advert, and one published earlier, on 27 May 1982.

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