From the TUC

Nicola’s experience at the Edinburgh Fringe – #heartunions

08 Feb 2017, By

8th – 14th February 2017 is #heartunions week, celebrating the great work unions do, and paying tribute to the reps who are an important part of that. The Unsung Heroes series is running all week, sharing stories from reps and members about how being part of their union has impacted their lives.

Nicola joined Equity because she knows that the rise in insecure contracts particularly affects people with similar situations patterns to her.

“For the entertainment sector, low – or even no pay – is a huge issue. I’m an actress by profession, but I’m also an events manager, an office temp… whatever pays the bills. More and more jobs in my industry are casual and insecure.

“The only way to stand up to this is to organise and stand together. I see no better way to achieve this than within the trade union movement.”

As part of the union, she’s been involved in effective organisation that’s made a huge impact to many people in the entertainment industry.

“Since the beginning of the campaign, which included the Fringe in Edinburgh last year, members were encouraged to tell the union when and where they were working unpaid. We visited casts, including many non-members, and expelled myths about pay.

“We made leaflets, wrote articles, tweeted, Facebooked, and spoke to the venues who were hosting productions. We wrote a “fringe contract” for venues to sign up to. It guaranteed decent conditions and at least the national minimum wage.

“As of today, over 200 productions have signed up, meaning over a thousand performers and stage managers have been paid at least the NMW [national minimum wage]. This means over £1.5 million in wages.”

And being a part of Equity has had a positive personal impact for Nicola, too.

“I’ve got more confidence. I now no longer fear engaging with employers who don’t pay the minimum wage. I’ve learnt about being a freelancer, and I’ve met lots of people in the same situation.”

The big aim for #heartunions week is to encourage more people to join a union. Please share this page with friends, colleagues and neighbours. If we each get one person to join a union this week, we’ll be well on the way to getting a better deal for working people all year round.

To find a union – http://heartunions.org/about-joining-a-union/

heartunions 2017