The former boss of a major Yorkshire arts centre is claiming he was sacked after refusing to take an “insulting” pay cut.
Andrew Aldis says he was told by management that the pay cut recognised his role was “no different” from running a leisure centre, and said he planned to take the issue to a tribunal.
Aldis joined Bridlington Spa in the East Riding of Yorkshire in 2009, having previously worked as deputy manager of the Lyceum in London’s West End.
Bridlington Spa consists of a 3,800 capacity concert venue, a 675-seat theatre and a conference centre.
Aldis told The Stage that he was first made aware of the change, which was part of a council restructure, at a meeting in April. Under the restructure, he was told his pay would drop by £4,000 from about £42,600 to £38,000, which he described as “insulting”.
“I was told by the director of the section that the general manager at Bridlington Spa is no different and needs no additional skills to running a leisure centre. It was absolutely horrendous,” Aldis told The Stage.
He added: “It’s devaluing the arts and it’s certainly not recognising the importance of an employee to the people who are paying the council tax.”
Aldis said that he appealed the changes and copied senior members of the council into an email detailing why he was turning down the post and “how important a theatre manager was to the community”.
The theatre manager alleges that he was called into a meeting and accused of “gross misconduct”, after which he says he was signed off work with stress.
Aldis found out that his appeal had not been upheld on November 9, and he is no longer working for the council.
He said: “One of the reasons I couldn’t accept the pay cut, is because if I did that, I would condone their behaviour. People were saying: ‘Take the pay cut and get another job.’ But if I took the pay cut, the next person coming in would be on lower money and I’d be partly responsible because I’d accepted it.”
Aldis has said he will be taking East Riding Council to an employment tribunal over his dismissal.
A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: “We can confirm that Mr Aldis is no longer employed by the council and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further.
“The council is currently recruiting to the vacant general manager post at Bridlington Spa, whilst staff and management are focussed on developing and expanding the unique and exciting offer that the venue provides to customers.”