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New and improved West End theatre agreement launched

15 May 2018

After months of additional negotiation a new and improved agreement between employers' body the Society of London Theatres (SOLT) and BECTU is being released.


Talks continued after the West End theatre pay review was concluded in November 2017.

As a result the following new provisions are in place:

  • Workers will have more control and flexibility about how and when they can take their 28 days holiday entitlement, including Public Holidays (32 for a six-day working week), with only Christmas Day designated as a day of an individual’s entitlement.
  • Time limits have been added to the Conciliation Board procedure used to resolve disputes; management now has a maximum of 14 days to resolve the dispute before it is automatically move to the next stage. However, the 14 days can be extended by joint agreement between BECTU and management.
  • The above timescale will also be applied to the procedure to resolve disagreements about Special Technical Requirements (this will help to avoid delays in paying workers carrying out additional duties such as a scene change in costume in view of the audience).

Ongoing discussions

However not all issues have been resolved. Talks on the regrading of stage door keepers, also proposed by the union, have yet to conclude.

Helen Ryan, assistant national secretary, said:

“For a number of years, it has been an aspiration of both SOLT and BECTU to modernise the wording of the SOLT/BECTU agreement so that it is easier to read, and to understand, and to incorporate within a revised agrement amendments agreed over the years at ACAS.

“BECTU's negotiating team believes that the new agreement is clearer and addresses some of the persistent issues we've had with its ambiguity and differences in interpretation.”

Extensive talks on the latest pay review concluded in November 2017 with agreement on a three-year deal based on increases of 3.5% in 2017-18, 3.5% in 2018-19 and 2.5% in 2019-20. 

The agreement

Members can download a copy (subject to login). Hard copies will be available shortly at each venue. BECTU will also publish a pocket handbook on key parts of the agreement to highlight members' rights. More information to follow.

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