HBO’s “House of the Dragon” and “Industry” will continue production in the U.K. despite the SAG-AFTRA strike enacted Thursday, an individual with knowledge confirmed to TheWrap.
The “Game of Thrones” prequel series is contracted through Equity, SAG-AFTRA’s U.K.-based “sister union,” for its largely British cast, and therefore will move forward with filming on its second season as planned. The same holds for “Industry,” which films in the U.K.
While Equity had expressed “total solidarity” with SAG-AFTRA during negotiations with the AMPTP, saying the union “stands full square behind our sister union in their claim, and the action their Board have agreed to take,” the U.K. union laid out the legal ramifications that prohibit Equity from encouraging actors to strike alongside SAG-AFTRA members, calling the applicable laws “draconian” and a “national disgrace.”
“We have been advised by SAG-AFTRA that its strike is lawful according to United States law but we have been advised by our UK lawyers that it is not lawful under United Kingdom law,” the union said following SAG-AFTRA’s official declaration of a strike on Thursday. “Consequently, a performer joining the strike (or refusing to cross a picket line) in the UK will have no protection against being dismissed or sued for breach of contract by the producer or the engager. Likewise, if Equity encourages anyone to join the strike or not cross a picket line, Equity itself will be acting unlawfully and hence liable for damages or an injunction.”
Equity also encouraged its members “to join rallies and demonstrations,” which the union will be organizing in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA in the coming days and weeks.
According to Equity’s FAQ, the policy to continue working on an Equity contract during a U.K. production for a U.S. producer is applicable to both actors who are unionized with only Equity, actors who are only members of SAG-AFTRA, as well as actors who are members of both Equity and SAG-AFTRA.
“Industrial relations legislation in the United Kingdom is draconian, and often viewed as the most restrictive in the Western world,” Equity General Secretary Paul W Fleming said in a statement. “The convoluted and pernicious hurdles faced by all unions in the United Kingdom are a national disgrace and need urgent reform. The regrettable consequence of this framework is that what artists working in the United Kingdom – whether SAG-AFTRA and/or Equity members (or both) – can do, may be different from their comrades in the United States and other parts of the world.”