UK Theatre's proposals for 'real living wage' would see lowest paid workers funding pay rises

25 April 2019

Following UK Theatre's claim that BECTU has rejected outright a series of proposals that would have delivered the ‘real Living Wage’, BECTU responds and says this cannot be a 'cost neutral exercise' for everyone except its members.

Following the news that UK Theatre has turned its back on the existing UK Theatre Agreement, BECTU rejects its claims that the union has dismissed proposals that would 'deliver the 'Real Living Wage'.

Speaking on the negotiations, which have so far seen UK Theatre revert to only agreeing to 'bare minimum' pay increases for those on the government's minimum wage, Negotiating Official Mick Corfield said: "UK Theatre hasn't really engaged in any meaningful negotiations with BECTU regarding the Real Living Wage as the last proposal dated 1st August 2018 offered the lowest grade a rate of £7.83 and the next grade up £8.75.

"There has been no offer since to increase the rate to a minimum £9 per hour as UK theatre have made it quite clear that to achieve these already published rates would have to have our lowest paid members of staff funding their own pay rise. This is clearly demonstrated in the letter where the preconditions of accepting the offer would be for our members to lose ALL premium payments apart from two days where Time & a Half would be payable only and a reduction in the minimum call to three hours. This was redacted at a later meeting.

"Basic mathematics demonstrates that if someone is working a 3.5 hour shift on what would have been a premium day on the offer proposed they will receive a total of only £31.50 however on current rate of pay that the government have imposed, not UK theatre volunteered, the same person will receive for 3.5 hour shift on a premium day £57.47 hence BECTU not being able to reach agreement. 

"BECTU has always actively pursued the idea of modernising the agreement, and still seek to, however not at the detriment of our members.

"It is also interesting to read UK theatre managements last part of the statement where the point out a willingness to attend ACAS but believe WE should change our view.

"This cannot be a cost neutral exercise from everyone but our members."

ENDS

For more information please email kdavies@bectu.org.uk

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