The Musicians' Union has been accused of failing to protect its own members after it turned down a motion, signed by more than 100 performers, calling on it to take a stand against the government's Licensing Act.
However, the MU's executive committee voted against the motion and assistant general secretary Horace Trubridge has written to signatories, informing them that the union cannot support such a policy because there is insufficient evidence to back up claims about the damage caused by the Act. Trubridge said there had in fact been a "widely-acknowledged boom in live music" in the UK.
Members say they are confused because the union carried out a survey earlier this year to discover how the Act had affected live music and concluded there had been "a marked drop in live music in smaller venues, especially the ones that previously benefitted from the 'two or fewer performers' exemption".
Now, the union says that when it contacted those surveyed, it found only one example given in London had actually been a direct result of the act. "We would need hundreds of examples to change the law," Trubridge said. "If we publicly announce that we oppose the Act we won't be able to influence how it is being employed at the moment, because civil servants and ministers won't talk to us."
I remember Mr Trubridge (with others) willingly signing up to the quite ludicrous LACORS 'guidance' on the Act's exemption for a performance of live music that was incidental. I suggest that if this is an example of what is referred to as being able to influence the Act, MU members may be better off if civil servants and ministers won't talk to the likes of Mr Trubridge. For it rather depends on what goes on in such talks.