Actors' union reaches pay deal for soap stars

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Kellie Bright in the Queen Vic in EastEnders
Image caption,
Shows including EastEnders closed down last month, but cast members will get a monthly payment

The actors' union Equity has said it has reached a pay deal to help soap stars through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Production on shows like Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale closed down last month to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

Now cast members under contract on affected shows will get a monthly payment while filming is suspended.

The union added the payments "either meet or come very close to the benchmark set by the government".

Stressing that many actors and workers on various productions "are not paid significant sums", Equity added it had "pushed very hard for more," but settled on what is felt was the best possible result in this "difficult economic climate."

'Safeguarding a vibrant future'

"By securing financial protection for artists now, we go some way towards safeguarding a vibrant future for the industry when this crisis is behind us and production can resume," said John Barclay, head of recorded media at Equity.

"I want to give a huge thank you to the Equity deps (deputies) on the shows and Equity staff for their hard work and resilience during this challenging time."

The government recently announced they will pay the wages - up to a maximum of £2,500 a month - of employees unable to work due to the pandemic, but from the start of June at the earliest.

The self-employed, it was later announced, can apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits to help them cope with the financial impact of the virus.

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