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UK Theatre turns its back on historic UK Theatre Agreement

25 April 2019

Organisation accused of doing ‘bare minimum’ by only agreeing to legally required pay increases for those on poverty pay

UK Theatres has reneged on its commitment to annual pay increases to hundreds of workers after failing to agree uplifts to the UK Theatre Agreements minimum rates.

BECTU had submitted a claim for an increase of 5% to all the minimum rates for 2018/2019.

However hopes of an updates to benefit worker pay and quality of working life were not only rejected by UK Theatre but the terms of the existing agreement have also been considerably weakened with the failure to offer an across-the-board annual pay increase.

For a number of years BECTU and UK Theatres have been trying to review and modernise the agreement. However although all the UK Theatre’s proposals uplift minimum pay rates they were linked to decreases in other payments such as working on Sundays and Bank Holidays, reduce minimum call times plus a buyout of all ancillary payments all of which will see workers earning less over time.

Theatre workers receiving the government’s 4.6% pay increase to its minimum rate will still not be receiving a real Living Wage from the agreement, unless the individual theatre decides to go further. The current collective bargaining agreement between BECTU and UK Theatre is relied upon for annual pay reviews and underlying terms and conditions at more than a hundred theatres across the country and covers most commercial theatres outside London.

BECTU is urging UK Theatre to think again before imposing the measures. Assistant National Secretary Helen Ryan said: “This is a step backwards for common decency and completely undermines the positive collaborative work between the union and UK Theatre’s to improve pay and working conditions for workers within this low paid sector.

“It is a shame that they are choosing to leave workers without a nationally agreed pay award that will affect the quality of life for so many people by meeting the bare minimum legal pay requirements.”


For more information, contact Katy Davies, Senior Communications Officer on or call 020 7346 0906