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Royal Opera House strike averted as pay deal is reached

Royal Opera House. Photo: Laika AC
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A strike threatened by backstage workers at the Royal Opera House has been averted after a new pay deal was reached between the venue and BECTU.

After conciliatory talks in April ended without any agreement, BECTU members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in June.

However, a new two-year deal has now been struck between the backstage union and the Royal Opera House that will see workers receive a 2.75% pay rise backdated to September 2014, with another rise of 1.25% in September this year.

The deal was underpinned by a commitment from the Royal Opera House to pay the London living wage – currently £9.15 per hour – as a minimum to all backstage and front-of-house workers.

BECTU national official Willy Donaghy told The Stage: “There was a huge turnout in the ballot and a massive majority voted yes to take strike action to get an improved offer, but we got that independently, and it was overwhelmingly accepted by the membership. We’re pleased and proud of the members sticking together to get to an acceptable pay offer.”

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

The ROH had previously offered staff a 4% increase over 18 months from March this year, which BECTU rejected, claiming it would amount to “a six-month wage freeze for the majority of the venue’s workforce”.

A spokesman for the Royal Opera House said the venue was “pleased that we have reached a mutually agreeable solution”.

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