Last week, the 2022 Commonwealth Games, trade unions and the Commonwealth Games organisers came together to sign a landmark pledge. The pledge ensures that all artists and creatives who work during the Games are paid fairly, and that the Games works to support the long term health of the creative sector in the region and actively promotes diversity.
The agreement has been made in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Organising Committee for the Commonwealth Games and cultural sector unions including the MU, BECTU, Equity and the TUC.
The MOU ensures that the nationally recognised rates of pay for creatives will be adhered to eliminating the risk of a race to the bottom on pay. Further, it makes clear the difference between volunteers, community art and professional work. In doing so, it will build trust and confidence that will allow the full involvement of communities alongside properly paid and respected professional artists.
In building a lasting cultural legacy, the MOU sets out a commitment to ‘support and promote diversity in the engagement of professional creative sector workers who are based in Birmingham and the Midlands in order to support the long term cultural and economic prosperity of the region.’
The key points of the memorandum are:
- Nationally agreed rates of pay for cultural sector to be respected
- Community and voluntary workers to supplement not replace paid work
- Promoting diversity and equality at heart of the strategy
It sets a benchmark for the best working practices in our industry
Stephen Brown, MU Regional Organiser for the Midlands, and Chair of the TUC Midlands Creative and Leisure Industry Committee said:
“I’m delighted that the three cultural unions, Bectu, Equity and the Musicians Union, working through the TUC, have secured this landmark agreement with the Birmingham Organising Committee for the Commonwealth Games.
“Trade unions backed the bid to secure the Commonwealth Games here in Birmingham. We know how much it means to our city and what it can deliver. And this agreement is evidence of the Games delivering for Birmingham.
“It ensures that creative sector workers at the Games get paid the right rate for the work they do, and it respects their intellectual property rights.
“Importantly, it also sets a benchmark for the best working practices in our industry ensuring a focus on delivering equality, diversity and inclusion, which is vital as a legacy for trade unions and the Games in our region.”
Lee Barron, TUC Midlands Regional Secretary, said:
“The Commonwealth Games belongs to all of us. And that includes the professional artists who will play such an integral role in bringing the Games to life throughout this wonderful summer carnival of sport.
“And that is why it is right that the Commonwealth Games have signed this agreement with our cultural unions. Performers have, for too long, been exploited and taken for granted.
“With artists rewarded fairly, community involvement championed and diversity and long-term support for our cultural economy at the heart of the strategy, this is an agreement is truly a landmark agreement.
“Now let the games begin.”