Actors Brian Cox (Succession), Imelda Staunton (The Crown, Harry Potter), Rob Delaney (Black Mirror, Catastrophe), Simon Pegg (Mission Impossible, Shaun of the Dead), Hayley Attwell (Mission Impossible) and more gathered in London’s Leicester Square, the scene of last month’s WGGB protest in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike since 2 May.
In fact, many of the issues the two unions face in their dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are the same, and reflect creators’ concerns here in the UK too.
These include fair pay, the need for safeguards on AI and the importance of royalties and residuals to ensure creatives are able to sustain a living and are properly remunerated for their share in the success of their work.
Playwright and screenwriter Sonali Bhattacharyya spoke at the rally, saying that “culture matters”, raising a cheer from members of the WGA resident in the UK, who had also turned out in solidarity.
Brian Cox and Rakie Ayola (Been So Long) spoke about the “unacceptable position” of the streaming giants on AI, while Rob Delaney – who like Simon Pegg is a writer as well as an actor – said defiantly “we always win”.
Labour MP John McDonnell called for the UK’s anti-strike laws to be scrapped if the Labour Government wins the next election.
WGGB and other unions have been campaigning against the Strikes (Minimum Services Bill) which passed the final stage in the Commons earlier this week.
A spokesperson from the RMT union, whose members were also present, told the assembled crowd: “We’ve got a weapon that can’t be beat and it’s called solidarity.”
Another rally organised by Equity took place simultaneously in Manchester’s Media City, which was attended by WGGB members including former regional rep Rebekah Harrison.
WGGB continues to show solidarity with our sister union the WGA whose members have now been on strike for nearly three months. You can find FAQs on our website and any members whose work has been affected by the strike can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Eleanor Dawson