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English National Opera staff to vote on capped hours and increased pay offer

The London Coliseum, home of English National Opera. Photo: Mike Peel The London Coliseum, home of English National Opera. Photo: Mike Peel
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English National Opera has agreed to cap the number of working hours for employees, subject to the approval of a pay offer with union BECTU.

Members of BECTU who are ENO employees are currently voting on whether to accept the offer, with the ballot closing at midday on February 5.

This follows extensive negotiations between ENO and BECTU over a troubled period for the opera company, which was previously placed into special measures by the Arts Council due to financial concerns.

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Under the latest pay offer BECTU staff on permanent, seasonal and fixed contracts would receive a £375 increase to their base salary from April 1, a one-off payment of £250 in July and a £375 increase to base salary from August 1.

For casual workers, the offer comprises a 1% increase to base pay from April 1, 2018, followed by a 1% increase to base pay from 1 April 2019.

Concerns about the number of consecutive 60-hour weeks worked by staff have been heard by ENO’s management, which has agreed, subject to acceptance of the pay proposal, to cap the number of hours worked to 220 over a four-week period.

The pay offer also includes a commitment to re-open talks on the offer, should the rate of inflation in August 2018 be higher than its current 3% level.

Helen Ryan, assistant national secretary at BECTU, has confirmed that rejection of the pay proposal would be followed by ballot for industrial action.

A spokeswoman for ENO said: “We recognise the incredible effort our teams make to put on and share great work. We have to balance our desire to improve their working conditions against an uncertain and very constrained economic backdrop.”

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