Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1089/30842

From The Socialist newspaper, 3 June 2020

Equity union general secretary election: vote for Paul Fleming, fight for action

Equity is the union for performing arts professionals, photo Amanda N Sherrington/CC

Equity is the union for performing arts professionals, photo Amanda N Sherrington/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in Equity

Equity, the union for performing arts professionals, is about to elect a new general secretary. The direction of the union in this tempestuous time is a vital question for entertainment workers.

Big issues include health and safety, funding, contracts - and industry survivability, for working-class artists in particular. There are two candidates for the top job.

Paul Fleming is a young career official with nine years' experience in a range of Equity posts. He has the endorsement of Equity's ruling council, all London branch chairs, and many of the union's left activists.

Paul has earned a reputation as a dynamic and hard-working negotiator with an eye for detail. He told a national hustings on 20 May that "what being a trades unionist is, is fundamental respect for forensic processes."

This is obvious in his manifesto. It includes detailed goals for more public funding and improved work-life balance in the industry. There are also proposals for the union, like increased branch funds and freedoms for branch campaigning, that would open up more space for workplace organising and left activism.

Simon Curtis is a singer and Equity member turned full-time regional organiser of eight years' standing. His supporters include activists in his Wales and South West region, and members of the singers' committee.

Simon's programme is somewhat less clear than Paul's. He has told more than one hustings that "my priorities are evolution, not revolution" - but evolution towards what? Simon has identified important areas for improvement or change, but has often remained noncommittal on concrete policies.

Paul's manifesto seems to us the best starting point. We do have some friendly differences of opinion, however.

On a 'universal basic income' for artists, for example - we are absolutely in favour of more income support for practitioners. However, in a market system, we believe UBI could simply become a component of poverty wages, already endemic in theatre (see also 'Universal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism').

We would instead propose that public money funds higher wages, living unemployment benefits, and cheap or free rehearsal and performance facilities. This is outlined in Equity's 'Performance for All' policy document.

And on local councils, which have accounted for around half of public arts funding. Paul is a Labour councillor in Southwark, south London. He says he has voted against all cuts budgets proposed internally to the borough's Labour Group - but this counts for little if he then put his hand up for those budgets in the council chamber.

However, when asked if he would back councillors proposing no-cuts budgets if elected general secretary, Paul told a branch hustings on 27 May: "110%, as an initial go-to." Simon's position was unclear.

We have disagreements with both candidates over their support for the capitalist EU. Underlying all this is the question of how best to fight for members. Equity has a culture of accepting the existing framework in the industry and negotiating over the details.

To his credit, though, Paul has explicitly cited the pandemic disruption as an opportunity to change some of that framework. We also agree with him on this. On Equity's radical 'Performance for All' manifesto, he has said: "We thought about it as a ten-year plan - we should make it a ten-month plan."

But the fundamental change we want to see is the union mobilised to shape that new framework, including by broaching industrial action if necessary, rather than relying on external forces.

We encourage all Equity members to vote for Paul Fleming for general secretary. Ballot papers will arrive from 1 June and must be returned for 8 July.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 3 June 2020:


What we think

Battered Tories face divisions and growing anger

Protect every job, nationalise don't subsidise

Council finance disaster: set emergency no-cuts budgets and fight for funds!


George Floyd

Fight racism and class inequality, fight capitalism!

USA - another cop killing of unarmed black man sparks widespread protests


Schools

Stand firm for workplace safety

Schools... no going back until it's safe


Workplace news

Coordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB

Reject the university employers' offer on pay, workload and casualisation

Fight continues for safety on London buses

PCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised

Equity union general secretary election


Coronavirus news

"Test, trace, isolate, support" - the Tories' scheme fails on all counts

Furlough: We are not 'all in the same boat'

Hospital closed following rampant spread of Covid-19


Labour Party

Socialism Today special issue: Lessons from the Corbyn experience

Blairite general secretary elected - Starmer's takeover of Labour Party consolidated


Readers' opinion

Football in the time of coronavirus - reclaim our game!

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters


Socialist Party reports

Pandemic doesn't stop Socialist Party educating organisers: northern meeting


 

Home   |   The Socialist 3 June 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Equity:

triangleTrade unionists and artists stand with Maxine Peake

triangleEquity union president elections

triangleTrade unionists stand in solidarity with Maxine Peake

triangleEquity manifesto lays out anti-austerity model for arts

triangleClimate strikes: trade union round-up

Union:

triangleLobbying for a lead from the TUC

triangleTUSC to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians

triangleA critical election for Unison general secretary

triangleReinstate Richie Venton

Election:

triangleUCU: election victory for combative rank and file

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The US presidential election

triangleSocialism Today special issue: Lessons from the Corbyn experience

Performance:

triangleSaving the music industry from pandemic and austerity

Manifesto:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

23/9/20

The Socialist

The Socialist: More than a newspaper

23/9/20

Coventry

Coventry: Socialist Students is back

23/9/20

Liverpool

Liverpool Council must save care homes

23/9/20

Sussex

Sussex: Hands off Peacehaven schools

23/9/20

Fighting Fund

Fighting fund: One week to raise 3,444

23/9/20

Cardiff

Workplace news in brief

23/9/20

Schools

Dispatches from the front - chaotic schools are not safe!

16/9/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist

16/9/20

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party: Tories and Blairites only care about corporate greed

16/9/20

Young people

Covid generation says 'fund our future'

16/9/20

Coventry

Coventry: scrap 'profit before people' hospital parking charges

16/9/20

National Shop Stewards Network

Lobbying for a lead from the TUC

16/9/20

NHS

Angry health workers demand 15% now!

16/9/20

Usdaw

Reinstate Richie Venton

16/9/20

Hull

Reinstate Tony Smith

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999