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Royal Opera House staff to vote on strike after pay talks break down

Royal Opera House staff will now decide whether or not to strike. Photo: Laika AC
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Royal Opera House staff will vote on strike action after pay talks broke down between the venue and backstage union BECTU.

Discussions held at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service ended without an agreement between the two parties, with BECTU claiming that a pay deal proposed by the ROH was lower than the previously rejected 2% offer.

The union – which represents all staff and casual workers at the venue bar performers and musicians – is seeking a 4% across the board pay increase over 12 months, backdated to September last year.

During the ACAS talks, the ROH offered staff a 4% increase over 18 months from March this year. In a statement, BECTU claimed that this offer would amount to “a six-month wage freeze for the majority of the venue’s workforce”.

Willie Donaghy, the union’s supervisory official, said: “It’s disappointing to have to say that we were the only side which came prepared to negotiate. Management’s last offer today was worse than the one previously tabled and rejected by our members.”

In a note sent to ROH staff, the venue’s chief executive Alex Beard said the final offer made by management was “fair and reasonable”, and that they were “very disappointed at the outcome of the meeting”.

He added: “The executive team remain keen to implement new pay rates for all staff covered by the BECTU agreement without any more delay, and have indicated our commitment to keep talking with the BECTU representatives, either directly or through ACAS, and hope that we can soon find a resolution to this long standing issue.”

BECTU will formally notify its members of the ballot later this week, which could commence in as little as 10 days.

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