23 November 2010
Employers in regional theatre are being urged to re-think their pay offer for 2010/11.
The appeal comes after union members voted by 4 to 1 to reject a modest pay award made worse by the attachment of several strings.
The employers, who are members of the Theatrical Management Association, had offered to increase basic pay by either 1 or 2 per cent, dependant on staff grade. However, linked to both pay offers was acceptance of changes to key terms.
Our negotiating committee has consistently said that this offer would be rejected because the strings attached would outweigh any increases in pay rates for members on the minimum rates
Commenting on the members' vote which closed yesterday, 22 November, Willy Donaghy, supervisory official said:
"Our negotiating committee has consistently said that this offer would be rejected because the strings attached would outweigh any increases in pay rates for members on the minimum rates of pay in the collective agreement. These staff are, in fact, the lowest paid in the UK theatre industry.
"We have asked the TMA to consider an award with no strings attached and await the outcome of their internal consultations.
"Whilst all theatre workers are aware of the financial challenges facing the industry, BECTU members throughout the UK have shown support for their colleagues who rely on the minimum rates provided by the TMA/BECTU agreement. Their solidarity is applauded."
The union had advised its members to vote 'no' in the consultative ballot.
The employers had sought to remove important provisions from the collective agreement - on the minimum call time, on pick-up payments, on the tv filming clause, and on the rights of staff employed on the get-in to work on the get-out - in exchange for a pay award well below the rate of inflation.
The Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, and the Theatre Royal in both Newcastle and Plymouth are amongst the 200 theatres countrywide which are part of the TMA.