Angry Strictly dancers call in their union as row over unvaccinated pros deepens
SEVERAL pro dancers have called in their union in the Strictly vacinnes row — as ex-head judge Len Goodman blasted the “madness” of pressing ahead without mandatory jabs.
The dancers have asked for advice and support in a tense-stand off with show bosses that could even lead to industrial action.
The Saturday night BBC1 hit has been in crisis since at least three pro dancers said they did not want to be inoculated.
One later went along for their jab. But make-up artists and hairdressers from the backstage “Glam Squad” — who come into close contact with stars and their dance partners — have said they are unvaccinated too.
Len, head judge for 14 years, told The Sun on Sunday: “I don’t understand why everyone on Strictly wasn’t required to be fully vaccinated before the show started.
“It’s madness — especially as you’re dancing in such close proximity to each other.
“I can imagine it becoming quite confrontational if anyone found out their partner wasn’t vaccinated.
“People need to realise it’s not just about them, but it’s about having respect for others and especially the older people who have proved to be more vulnerable.”
Len, 77 and an ambassador for Age UK, added: “I think it’s so important to be vaccinated and I feel so strongly about it. I really do worry about the older generation.”
Len is currently judging the US version, Dancing With The Stars. All cast had to be fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile Strictly’s professional dancers, each on around £50,000 per series, have raised the stakes by going to entertainment arts union Equity.
A source said: “Both vaccinated and unvaccinated dancers have gone to the union. They want to know how to navigate their rights with BBC bosses.”
They went on: “Understandably the dancers are not well-versed in industrial relations and are starting to feel the pressure.
“While some are against the having the vaccine, others are rigid about not catching Covid as they need to work.
“It’s all getting increasingly tense and could even lead to the union recommending some sort of action by those who feel aggrieved.
“Some of the hair and make-up team have decided against getting jabbed too which has raised eye-brows as they are obviously in very close contact with the cast.
“They do wear face masks while they’re working, but there is still a risk. It feels like a disaster waiting to happen.”
A Strictly spokesman insisted: “Production continues to follow strict government and industry guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show.”
Pro Amy Dowden and Tom Fletcher, who had positive tests, will return next week after negative checks.
But sources said questions were being asked why singer and guitarist Tom was allowed to take part while performing in McFly’s arena tour.
One said: “It is well known that concerts can be ‘spreader events’ so why was it deemed safe to have him involved in both at the same time?”
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