UK actors’ union, Equity, has advised that while it supports the strike of sister US union SAG-AFTRA, those SAG-AFTRA members working on UK based productions under an Equity contract cannot legally strike in support.

This would include US owned productions like the next season of House of the Dragon.

The US actors’ union SAG-AFTRA is currently calling on its members to strike as negotiations with the producers’ association AMPTP hit a deadlock.

Equity said that “SAG-AFTRA, like Equity, is also bravely facing head-on existential questions on issues like Artificial Intelligence, and the rise in virtual auditions and self-tapes. Securing fairness in pay, terms, and conditions is critical whether they be with traditional producers, or new global streamers, and with new modes of making and distributing work to a global audience.”

While the SAG-AFTRA strike is lawful according to US law, Equity says that it has been advised by 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.

Equity said: “We say clearly to the AMPTP and their members that they need to move significantly and swiftly to meet the reasonable aspirations of SAG-AFTRA’s members. The members of our unions, and all entertainment unions across the globe, create the vast wealth within our industry – it is right and just that they have decent, modern pay and conditions.”

Jon Creamer

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