Walkout looms at Royal Shakespeare

BECTU members at the RSC have voted for strike action over redundancies.

Voting in a postal ballot almost 90% of members at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Stratford base supported industrial action in a bid to reopen negotiations on planned job cuts.

In an ultimatum issued to the company, the union has warned that dates for strike action will be announced within a week unless the RSC management accept BECTU's offer to continue talks about the job cuts at ACAS.

The ballot came after the collapse of negotiations over the RSC's plans to abandon the fixed Shakespeare season at Stratford, threatening the closure of two thirds of technical jobs in the theatre.

A premature call for redundancy volunteers, before the final severance terms had been agreed, coupled with the management's refusal to improve termination payments, brought the talks to an end in early July.

Under UK labour law, industrial action must be taken within 28 days of ballot results being announced, and if the RSC makes no conciliatory move members at Stratford are likely to hold mass meetings to set the date of their first walkout.

31 August 2001