An impressive lineup of UK and British stars turned out for a rally in London held in support of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
Organized by UK actors union Equity, which has declared its “full solidarity in this fight” on behalf of SAG-AFTRA and its members, the event will take place at London’s Leicester Square film hub. Ironically, this location served as the backdrop for one of the strike’s early headlines, as it was here that Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and the stars of oppenheimer came off the film’s UK premiere, which took place on the night the industrial action was called on 13 July. Equity is also holding a rally simultaneously at Manchester’s Media City UK.
At Friday’s event in London, high-profile figures set to speak include Succession brian cox star, Catastrophe‘s Rob Delaney and stage and screen actress Rakie Ayola, who has appeared in black mirror, doctor who and played Hermione Granger in the West End production of Harry Potter and the cursed child.
Among the other stellar guests in attendance are Simon Pegg, Naomie Harris, Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter and Penelope Wilton, though more are expected.
Representing some 47,000 members, Equity, led by General Secretary Paul W. Fleming, said ahead of the rally that it “fully stands behind our sister union in their claim and the action they have decided to take,” adding that it is also “experiencing optimistic compromises that attempt to undermine their 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 UK’s strict anti-strike legislation hampers much of the activity of both Equity and its members. While the union can organize rallies like the ones in London and Manchester, it cannot call a sympathy strike, which is considered illegal.
The union has also advised its members to continue working if they have equity contracts, noting that they would have no legal protection covering striking workers should they face disciplinary action or are sued for breach of contract.