Opinion: Business should not be propped up by unpaid staff or any other illegal activity


Perhaps it is immoral not to pay actors and technical staff. There has been much debate about cooperatives and I think that debate is good. When the criteria for a cooperative theatre company is clear it will be excellent.

But the decision about theatre companies that operate on an employe and worker model has been made some time ago in parliment. You have to pay your workers in this country. We have a minimum wage.

It’s definately illegal not to pay your actors. If an employer is not paying at least NMW they are breaking the law. Actors and stage management are always classed as workers in employment law, because of the nature of the work they do.

Recent tribunal results support this opinion, and the chicken littles are running about be crying the death of the fringe. I find it desperate and alarmist to talk about ‘shutting down’ fringe venues

Continue reading

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Hazel Blears MP spearheads interns rights in Parliament


What a good news month June has been. Today MP’s debated unpaid internships in Parliament.  It’s not exactly actors wages- but the principal and legislation is the same. Hazel Blears, a former cabinet minister (Labour) is kicking ass and taking names.

Literally taking names. She is getting MP’s to pledge to pay their own interns. Continue reading

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UK Tribunal Awards Pay to Actors for Work in Fringe Production


Well, it has happened. ‘Profit share’ as we know it has gone on trial, and profit share lost. The Guardian reports: Continue reading

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US Court Rules Film Interns Eligible for Minimum Wage


It’s Old News for many of us in the UK, but now a court in the USA has ruled that wages need to be paid to production interns. ABC news reports that the judge determined that the two men who worked as unpaid interns on the film ‘Black Swan’ should have been afforded full employment rights.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/06/lawsuit-unpaid-film-interns-considered-employees/

NPR provides further coverage:

But this week’s ruling goes even further, saying that unpaid internships must have an actual educational component independent of school credits or the job experience.

Juno Turner, Glatt’s attorney, says the ruling leaves little wiggle room. “I think that many, many internships fall into the category of wage theft and I think that this decision is a blow to that practice.”

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The BBC joins up with LECOG and Local Councils to exploit emerging filmmakers for the Olympic ‘Big Screens’


So I got spammed the other day with a BBC request for material for their big screens in London for the Olympics. You know, the economic miracle which is suppose to sweep through London this  Summer.  The Games that are keeping thousands in work and making millions for big named architects and developers. The same Olympics that are looking for unpaid performers for millionaire director Danny Boyle to create a show with. The ceremonies during the games will cost over £40,000,000.00 And actors will go unpaid.

But that is not news.  Now the BBC is going to exploit the emerging film making community. 

The spam linked me to this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bigscreens/

They are trawling for film material that they can use for free. Made by you and me, at our expense. To be paid on council owned screens, curated by the BBC. Continue reading

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Work for nothing then claim your wages: a step by step guide: by Nick Thomas-Webster


This is an excerpt of an article by Nick Thomas-Webster (originally written for The Stage)

Join NTW’s FB page: Unpaid Extras in the UK: Not Any More!

The National Minimum Wage enshrined in UK law lays down the minimum rates of pay that employers must pay employees – it is the law and nobody can absent themselves from the law. Continue reading

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Oops…Pay and work right helpline got it wrong for actors!


‘The government has admitted the service will now be referring calls regarding performers’ pay rights to HM Revenue and Customs instead, after it was revealed that staff working for the phoneline had misinformed a production company about performers’ rights to the national minimum wage.’ Continue reading

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PAID TRIBUNAL OPPORTUNITY: You Me Bum Bum Train


TARGET: YOU ME BUM BUM TRAIN

This is a call to action for everyone in the Low Pay/No Pay network:  Send a message to all wannabe employers; minimum wage is here to stay. A runaway success like YMBBT has to pay!  This show sold out at the Barbican last year. YMBBT represents the largest single use of unlawfully unpaid actors.  Making them pay their actors this year will be a big victory for all working actors. Continue reading

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PAID TRIBUNAL OPPORTUNITY: They Want You (Feature Film)


ActorsMinimumWage has decided to enter the business of finding jobs for actors! The only hitch is that these jobs are advertised as unpaid or underpaid. You will have to take the company to tribunal to get your wages.

Of course there is nothing illegal in doing this. In fact, it’s becoming quite a trend. Actors, technicians, interns are all winning legal cases and financial remuneration for claimants (see recent AMW article).  You probably won’t even have to fight your case at tribunal. Most employers just pay out the wages to avoid going to tribunal. Many others don’t even show up. Equity will also support you in your claim, if they feel the case is winnable.

Oh, and why not use the share buttons to tell your acting friends about this ‘unmissable opportunity’ via facebook and twitter?

The Job: They Want You  (Feature Film) Continue reading

Posted in acting, actors, Equity, minimum wage, national minimum wage, nmw, solutions, Tribunal, tribunal opportunity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Equity Young Members Committee leading union in using tribunals


The Equity Young Members Committee has given the Union it’s teeth back!  The following motion- passed at the Annual Representative Conference- will put the information in all members hands which will allow them to get paid via tribunal for unpaid and underpaid jobs.  Continue reading

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Tribunal roundup: Employers Dodging Minimum Wage Pay-up


Posted via TV Watercooler

In case there is any doubt about whether you should be paid if you are an intern (or unpaid actor) being treated as a worker, three recent industrial tribunals have all separately weighed in with a resounding YES!: Continue reading

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Has the National Trust launched the most humiliating internship ever? | Graduate Fog


via Has the National Trust launched the most humiliating internship ever? | Graduate Fog.

Published: April 12, 2011

CHARITY’S ASTOUNDING ARROGANCE STUNS GRADUATE FOG
In the last few months, Graduate Fog has seen some shocking displays of arrogance among those organisations which continue to expect young people to work for nothing, in the form of unpaid internships. But folks, this one takes the biscuit. The National Trust has advertised for Continue reading

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We Are Not Amused with the Old Vic


'We are not amused."

A major entertainment union has reached out to touch the Old Vic again. The issue; unpaid workers.  Looks like there are concerns that the Old Vic Tunnels recruits unpaid actors for visiting companies. And these companies of course have a legal obigation to pay their actors and other workers.

The companies involved have been telling those of us making enquiries that they are exempt under Section 44 of the NMW regulations.  They are not exempt. The Section 44 exemption only applies Continue reading

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Any film producers want to go on TV?


Hello- saw this request on Nick Thomas-Webster’s ‘Unpaid Extras in the UK?? Not any more’ Facebook group.  Thought I might put it out there to see if anyone could help.  Nick is the chap who just won a tribunal against a film company that contracted him as an unpaid artist.

Hey I have been asked to do a series of TV Interviews and chat shows about the unpaid film business Continue reading

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The Stage / News / Unpaid extra wins fight for minimum wage


An extra who successfully secured minimum wage from four film production companies that had hired him on a no-fee basis is urging other performers to “stand up” to organisations that try to avoid paying them.

Despite signing agreements with each of the companies saying the work he was doing would not be paid, Nick Thomas-Webster successfully secured payment from three of the employers simply by invoicing them after the shoots. He won £500.10 from the fourth after he made a claim to an employment tribunal.

via The Stage / News / Unpaid extra wins fight for minimum wage.

Posted in acting, actors, Equity, minimum wage, national minimum wage, Tribunal | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Supporting Artist Wins Tribunal Against Non-Paying Producer


The fight for fair pay in film

This article is quoted in its entirety from Equity Magazine Spring 2011 (p11)

Nick Thomas-Webster was employed as a supporting artist on the UK film Jack Falls but was refused pay because the producer believed the contract Nick signed meant he agreed to work unpaid.

“Many actors, extras and supporting artists do not realise that they are entitled to the national minimum wage Continue reading

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Solution Proposed: Fair Trade Theatre Tickets Scheme


Alex, from Artist Anonymous has had a blinder of an idea. Alexander Parsonage is also artistic director of Finger in the Pie Theatre:

FAIR TRADE THEATRE TICKETS
If we want to buy coffee where the workers have been paid a decent living wage for their work, we have no problem
with the idea that we have to pay more. So what’s wrong with letting an audience know that if they want the theatre cast they’re seeing to be paid a living wage they need to pay more for theatre?
Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized, letters and editorials, actors, minimum wage, nmw, acting, national minimum wage, Arts Council, solutions | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Stage: Government urged to clarify minimum wage legislation


Re Blogged from The Stage: Published Thursday 7 April 2011 at 17:35 by Matthew Hemley

MPs are being urged to raise awareness of the rules around paying National Minimum Wage following concerns from unions Equity and BECTU that performers are being asked to work for free on jobs that should be paid. Continue reading

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Guardian newspaper: coalition to end unpaid internships


http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/apr/05/nick-clegg-social-mobility-strategy

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg believes ‘internships have been the almost exclusive preserve of the sharp-elbowed and the well-connected’. Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters
The government is aiming to reverse the growing culture of unpaid internships, which favour the wealthy and well-connected, as part of a social mobility strategy to be launched by Nick Clegg.

The national internship scheme will ask firms to pay young people doing work experience and warn they could otherwise risk a legal challenge under the national minimum wage legislation. The deputy prime minister will say that the aim is to make career progression less dependent on “who your father’s friends are”.

The Conservative party chair, Lady Warsi, will announce on Tuesday that the civil service will end informal internships before 2012. They will all then be advertised on the government’s website.

As one part of a many-pronged effort to narrow differences in achievement between social groups, a number of firms have been enlisted to give people without family connections experience in competitive fields of work. The government will encourage firms to use name-blank and school-blank applications.

The government will signal that legislation on the payment of the national minimum wage should be taken more seriously. People will be encouraged to blow the whistle on unpaid internships.

In advance of the strategy’s launch, Clegg and Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, say in a joint article in today’s Telegraph that many families are seeing their aspirations for their children dashed because private education is out of their reach and they lack the right connections.

Along with pledging to improve social mobility among those from poorer backgrounds, they say that millions of middle-income parents are also not rich enough to insulate their children against life’s misfortunes.

“We want a society in which success is based on what you know, not who you know or which family you are born into,” they write. “So our social mobility drive is aimed at helping the majority of people to move up the rungs of the ladder of opportunity.”

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The Stage / News / Equity encourages performers to take action against unpaid work


The Stage / News / Equity encourages performers to take action against unpaid work.

Equity is calling on its members to consider legal action against organisations that try to bypass the law. Continue reading

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Equity takes action with La Boheme- Soho Theatre’s highest grossing show


The Stage newspaper online reports:

“Producers of the Olivier Award-winning La Boheme have come under fire for not paying the show’s chorus just hours after the show picked up the best new opera production prize at Sunday’s ceremony.

La Boheme sold out its first six-week run at Soho last year and returned to Soho in January. Soho artistic director Steve Marmion told the BBC that La Boheme has become the theatre’s highest grossing show.

Continue reading

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Emphasis on tribunal cases as Equity forms Low Pay/No Pay Working Party


Younger members of Equity have brought about an important change in the Low Pay/No Pay issue.  The Equity Young Members Committee proposed a working part in October 2010 ‘It was necessary to look at the burgeoning Low Pay No Pay sector and to have a presence at any relevant meetings on this.’

In a recent Equity Council meeting the motion was CARRIED with 17 for, and 7 against. Continue reading
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Equity/BECTU bust Avalon TV over unpaid ‘Al Murry’ extras


The Stage reports”

Avalon’s advert, spotted by The Stage, said it needed “extras for a shoot with Al Murray”, promising that those who participate will “be part of our television show’s title sequence” and have the chance to “meet Al and have a laugh”. But it continued: “This is not a paid position.” Continue reading

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Shooting People finally introduces minimum wage guidelines


Although the measures produced by Shooting People will still allow film-makers to break the law, Shooting People has taken a big step (as the Arts Council has) in screening submissions which clearly exploit actors and other film workers.

Have a look for yourself.

 

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2010 in review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow. Continue reading

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Government guidance on creative sector minimum wage to be delivered shortly


This year the government made a promise that arts sector specific minimum wage guidance would be published.  2010 is coming to a close.  So where is the guidance?

Just yesterday, an arts minimum wage campainer recieved a response from BIS (department for Business, Innovation and Skills).  They have shared  this communication (in the form of an email) with actorsminimumwage which lets us know what has delayed the guidance, what guidance to expect, and where to look for it! Continue reading

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UK Government to name and shame NMW cheats


NMW Cheats are now to be named & shamed!

Those who flout the law and pay workers (actors) less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW) are soon to be named and shamed under a new government incentive announced earlier today by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS).
Continue reading

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PETITION: BECTU and EQUITY lead the way to Licence agents


Sign the petition for the return of agency licencing

From The Equity Website:

Equity, BECTU and the National Association of Supporting Artistes Agents have joined forces to launch a petition calling on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to examine the case for the licencing of agents in the entertainment industry.

The groups have long campaigned for the introduction of stronger measures to protect the innocent and the vulnerable from exploitation
Continue reading

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Agency fined 10k for underpaying actor


“What was a relatively small amount to be paid in outstanding wages has become a significant cost because the company failed to comply with minimum employment rights and failed to turn up to hearings,” Government official said. “The Department gave … Continue reading

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CONFERENCE: The Cultural Labour Market- Highlighting Low Pay/No Pay Issue


Conference on Cultural Workforce Issues – City University London.

Conference Dates: 10 March 2010

Times: 2-7pm

“Until relatively recently, conditions within cultural labour markets were of little interest to policymakers. They were assumed to offer “good work”, and the only policy goal was to support their growth, and ensure we had a skilled workforce. But data on the unrepresentative nature of the cultural labour market and concerns about declining social mobility, have led to something of a change of mind.” Continue reading

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Labour Peer calls for enforcement of national minimum wage in Lords debate.


Lord Lea (from parliment.uk)

 

Lord Lea of Crondall (Labour) calls on the government to enforce employment law and the national minimum wage, ending unpaid internships.

YOU CAN READ THE NOV 30 2010 DEBATE ONLINE on WWW.theyworkforyou.com. Continue reading

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Ed Milliband wants to improve minimum wage enforcement


http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/19/ed-miliband-energy-secretary-interview

Indeed, those agitating for an increase in the minimum wage will get something in the manifesto, Miliband insists. When asked about immigration and whether the government has done enough, he insists that perceptions of immigration as being a bad thing stem from people’s belief that immigrants have a downward effect on wages. “Tougher enforcement of the national minimum wage,” he says, could be the answer to public disquiet around levels of immigration. ” Continue reading

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Police claim MI5 said it was OK to hire unpaid actors


A shocking allegegation of minimum wage infractions by people who should really know better: the Police.

From a lead NEWS article in THE STAGE written by Jamie Elliott based on a tip off from TVWatercooler.org.

“The Association of Chief Police Officers has been accused of flouting employment law after it advertised for experienced actors to appear on an expenses-only basis in a film raising awareness of terrorism. Continue reading

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Volunteering: ‘the commercialisation and consumerisation of democracy’


Exerpt from ‘Young People and the “Big Society”‘ on the site Ourkingdom- power and liberty in Briton.

Although altruism remains an essential motivation, under these kinds of ‘careerist volunteering’ schemes it is clear that young people are being encouraged to work for charities and other organisations and businesses to improve their own life-chances. But the extent to which voluntary and other charitable organisations, together with businesses, will be able to meet the growing demand for volunteering opportunities that are both worthwhile to communities and of positive benefit to young people involved is open to question. Continue reading

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Old Vic to exploit vulnerable young workers in dubious internships


Normally AMW blog does not involve itself in the issue of unpaid internships.  But the Old Vic has been on the radar recently, as currently one of the biggest employers of unpaid actors in the country. The Old Vic has not responded to Actors Minimum wage enquiries about unpaid actors, even though the Old Vic clearly in currently in receipt of Arts Council funding!

Now the Old Vic is advertising for candidates for ongoing 3 month internships, the majority of which are likely to be taken up by young people. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, minimum wage, nmw, national minimum wage, Arts Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

ACE is redeveloping the Arts Jobs site to counter unlawful ‘Volunteering Oportunities’


Bravo Arts Council! Great insight and vision to introduce screening questions for unpaid ads.

This is a major step forward not only for actors, but for the organisations and companies that offer legitimate unpaid opportunities and learning experiences for entry level workers.  Congratualtions to the Arts Council for leading the way and setting the best example! Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, actors, nmw, acting, national minimum wage, Low Pay Commission, Arts Council, solutions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arts Council suspends all Artsjobs adverts of unpaid work


From: http://www.artsjobs.org.uk/

“Please note that due to the high volume of adverts for unpaid opportunities that contravene Minimum Wage Regulations we are temporarily suspending adverts for unpaid work, work experience, voluntary roles or internships. This is so we can make developments to the website that will help users to post genuine volunteering opportunities only and stay within Minimum Wage Regulations.

Arts Council England is committed to ensuring that artists and those who work in the creative industries are properly remunerated for any work that they do. We recognise that there is great value in people having access to proper work experience, where it is offered and arranged properly and is a mutually beneficial arrangement, but that this should never be used as a way of attempting to circumvent the Minimum Wage Regulations.

We will continue to accept adverts for paid employment and will let you know when we expect the facility to be live once more. Thanks for your patience while we address this important issue.

Posted in Uncategorized, minimum wage, nmw, national minimum wage, Arts Council | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

OLD VIC seeks 100+ actors UNPAID


UPDATED 30 July 2010

This Old Vic ad has been removed from the Arts Council ‘Artsjobs’ Website:


(click image for full size version)

The above advert placed in ArtsJobs (the Arts Council’s website) seems to have been trawling for 100+ technicians and professional actors for what should be a community project. If they are just looking for non professionals then the advert should explicitly stated that.

HOWEVER the notice is still on the OLD VIC website:


(click to enlarge screenshots)

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized, actors, minimum wage, nmw, Equity, acting, national minimum wage, Arts Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Arts Council Cracks Down On Illegal Jobs but ‘Voluntary Opportunities’ Still Problematic | Arts Group


Re-blogged via Arts Council Cracks Down On Illegal Jobs | Arts Group.

In response to pressure from fair pay campaigners, the Arts Council England (ACE) has begun to crack down on illegal postings on its site Arts Jobs.

Staff at ACE summarized the organization’s stance thus:

We take complaints about postings on Arts Jobs very seriously and it is helpful that you have highlighted adverts for us which do appear to contravene the Minimum Wage Regulations (MWRs). We will ensure that postings which we feel contravene the MWRs are removed and will, where possible, provide feedback to the organisations which posted them. Continue reading

Posted in NMW FACTS, minimum wage, nmw, national minimum wage, Arts Council | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Boycott Poll


Actors have been discussing not working on unpaid or underpaid work for a long time. But now the disussion is shifting to not ATTENDING unpaid theatre. In effect: a boycott. Continue reading

Posted in acting, actors, minimum wage, national minimum wage, nmw, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

THE STAGE: Equity warns sell-out show of possible minimum wage breach


Well, well…

It looks like Equity has attracted The Stage’s attention. The stage is reporting that Equity has warned a show that it may be breaking the law using 200 performers and paying no one.

http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/28910/equity-warns-sell-out-show-of-possible

Martin Brown, Equity’s assistant general secretary for communications and membership support, commented: “We have already contacted the production to warn them that what they are doing may be in breach of the National Minimum Wage regulations. If any member of Equity is involved in this production and believes that they should have received at least the National Minimum Wage, I would encourage them to come to Equity and we will get a legal opinion.” Continue reading

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Coalition government: NMW guidance for entertainment sector going ahead


The news distribution service fot the UK government and public sector confirmed on June 21 that there were no major changes in government activity relating to NMW.  They also confirmed that ‘there should be specific guidance on the National Minimum Wage for the entertainment sector.’ Continue reading

Posted in acting, actors, Equity, Low Pay Commission, minimum wage, national minimum wage, nmw, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The BBC exploits emerging London film making community for the Olympics!


So I got spammed the other day with a BBC request for material for their big screens in London for the Olympics. You know, the economic miracle which is suppose to sweep through London this Summer. The Games that are keeping thousands in work and making millions for big named architects and developers. The same Olympics that are looking for unpaid performers for millionaire director Danny Boyle to create a show with. The ceremonies during the games will cost over £40,000,000.00 And actors will go unpaid.

But that is not news. Now the BBC is going to exploit the emerging film making community.

The spam linked me to this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bigscreens/

They are trawling for film material that they can use for free. Made by you and me, at our expense. To be paid on council owned screens, curated by the BBC.

Continue reading

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Paid Tribunal Opportunity: You Me Bum Bum Train


They’re back, with a great opportunity for you to make some money doing something really fun and creative. You Me Bum Bum Train is a production that has used hundreds of actors, convincing them they have right to be paid. But guess what, you can’t give away your statutory rights! So YMBBT will have to pay you at least minimum wage for every hour you work on their project even if you sign something saying you won’t be paid.

just follow this link to their facebook page.

As long as you request your pay, up to three months after you finish working for them, you should be paid! Equity will also assist you in this, even if it goes to tribunal.

So have a great time and help to may YMBBT into the employer of the most PAID actors in London.

Posted in acting, actors, minimum wage, national minimum wage, nmw, Tribunal, tribunal opportunity, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

OLD VIC & KEVIN SPACEY SHAMED AT TUC BY BECTU


At the Trades Union Conference BECTU’s talks about their activities to pressure the OLD VIC to mend their shameful ways and pay their interns.
Watch it at 1hr 34 in.

Posted in Equity, minimum wage, national minimum wage, nmw, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment