the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

9 November 2016

Members at Sheffield Theatres have voted overwhelming to accept a new pay policy which will see enhanced rates and the introduction of new annualised hours posts from this month.

Better basic pay and better contracts

Front of house show staff will be paid £8.25 an hour from November an increase of 14.5% on the previous rate and a year on year rate increase of 22.9%.

In addition, ten new posts are to be created in the front of house team which will deliver a guaranteed number of hours per week based on an average of 12 hours; production staff will also be invited to apply for annualised hours positions with the commitment due to reflect hours worked in recent years. The theatre technicians' team is to be boosted by two with the appointment of a new workshop/stage theatre technician and LX/sound theatre technician.

Talks to review the house agreement to improve basic pay in line with the Living Wage and to provide more certainty in terms of income for more staff have been ongoing for close to a year. Whilst the talks continued, an interim 2% pay award was made in April 2016. 

Thanks to the new agreement, which covers both the Lyceum and Crucible theatres, rates for casual crew will increase 21.3% year on year, with wardrobe assistants, stage, LX and sound technicians set to benefit from increases of 15.7%. Again, the offer on better basic pay has made reductions in overtime and get-out rates an acceptable way forward. From October 2016 the hourly get-out rate will be £38 an hour, compared to the previous rate of £41.22. 

The comprehensive rewrite of the agreement, which will see the end of certain allowances, including for special effects, in costume appearances and laundry, were approved by members across both venues and all departments with a turnout of 72 per cent in the ballot. Of members voting 84% backed the changes.  

Better terms leads to stronger branch

Mick Corfield commented:

"The new House agreement includes more permanent posts and the offer of annualised hours contracts to those staff wishing to have their earnings spread out over a period of time with the benefit of much needed security.

"It’s also pleasing that membership at the venue increased by nearly 30% during our negotiations and I hope this trend continues as members and non-members see the valuable work that BECTU does on their behalf.”

Mick Corfield continued: 

“This has been a long process and I thank our rep Tim Dickson for his invaluable support over the last 12 months. I would also like to thank HR manager Michael Bailey and chief executive Dan Bates for the sensitive and patient way in which these talks were handled, an approach which can only further our already excellent working relationship.”

Dan Bates, chief executive, Sheffield Theatres Trust Ltd, commented:

“I am delighted that we have been able to update our house agreement and achieve the Living Wage for our staff in November this year. We concluded this work after extensive negotiations, working hand in hand with BECTU and the whole team here at Sheffield Theatres.

"It has always been our aspiration to improve pay for our staff. The team here are incredibly passionate and committed, and their dedication makes a vital contribution to the continued success of Sheffield Theatres.”

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