Equity ends ban on actors in ads

The long-running dispute between the ad industry and Equity has ceased to have an impact on UK commercials production, with the warring parties unofficially accepting a new status quo that has emerged from the stalemate.

The long-running dispute between the ad industry and Equity has

ceased to have an impact on UK commercials production, with the warring

parties unofficially accepting a new status quo that has emerged from

the stalemate.



The actors’ union, acknowledging that a settlement of the 13-month

confrontation remains as distant as ever, has told its members they can

accept work under the terms of an expired 1991 agreement.



The move effectively lifts Equity’s ban on its members appearing in UK

commercials and restricts the dispute to its original flashpoint - the

pegging of voiceover fees.



In a note to members, Ian McGarry, Equity’s general secretary, said the

union’s decision was a reaction to employers’ claims that they had no

intention of attacking the 1991 terms and conditions for visual artists

and because many agencies were now offering 1991 terms to non-visual

artists as well. ’We are now taking the employers at their word,’ he

added.



It was the end of the 1991 agreement in April last year that led to the

dispute and to the boycott of all UK commercials production by Equity

members which has been in operation for eight months.



The union’s instruction re-creates the situation as it was immediately

before it took action over voiceover fees.



Equity denied its action was an admission of defeat, claiming that

members’ support remained solid and that it was taking the initiative in

a deadlocked dispute. ’It’s a recognition that the employers will

probably not return to negotiations in the foreseeable future,’ a union

executive said.



But Bob Wootton, head of media services at the Incorporated Society of

British Advertisers, said: ’It would be difficult to see this as

anything other than a retreat. Equity has had to be pragmatic and

recognise the custom and practice that has evolved.’



The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising is warning members that

despite the latest move - described by one IPA source as ’relaxing the

position’ - the dispute with Equity remains unresolved.



Wootton added: ’The situation isn’t ideal but it’s close enough to make

us question the need to get into a new agreement of the kind Equity

proposes.’



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