An impressive lineup of British and U.K.-based stars have turned out for a London rally held in support of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
Organized by the U.K. actors union Equity, which has declared its “total solidarity in this fight” by SAG-AFTRA and its members, the event is being held in London’s cinema hub of Leicester Square. Ironically, this location provided the backdrop for one of the first headlines of the strike, as it was here where Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and the stars of Oppenheimer walked out of the film’s U.K. premiere, which happened to take place the night the industrial action was called on July 13. Equity is also holding a rally simultaneously in Manchester’s Media City UK.
At Friday’s event in London, among the high-profile figures set to speak are Succession star Brian Cox, Catastrophe‘s Rob Delaney and stage and screen actress Rakie Ayola, who has appeared in Black Mirror, Doctor Who and portrayed Hermione Granger in the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Representing some 47,000 members, Equity — led by general secretary Paul W. Fleming — said ahead of the rally that it “stands full square behind our sister union in their claim, and the action they have decided to take,” adding that it too is “experiencing bullish engagers attempting to undermine its collectively bargained agreements.”
After the SAG-AFTRA strike was called, Equity said it would support it by “all legal means.” However, as The Hollywood Reporter detailed earlier this week, the U.K.’s strict anti-strike legislation hamstrings much activity for both Equity and its members. While the union can organize rallies such as the ones in London and Manchester, it can’t call for a sympathy strike, which is deemed unlawful.
The union has also advised its members to continue to work if they’re under Equity contracts, noting that they wouldn’t have any legal protection covering striking workers should they face disciplinary action or be sued for breach of contract.