Scottish Opera Avoids Latest Strike Action

Classic Arts News   Scottish Opera Avoids Latest Strike Action
The show did go on yesterday at Scottish Opera, despite earlier union threats of a strike.

BECTU, the union representing backstage staff, released a statement yesterday announcing a strike intended to disrupt a performance at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre of Carmen, the beleaguered company's first mainstage production in a year.

The proposed strike was prompted by BECTU's unhappiness with Scottish Opera's plans to stop recognizing the union as the representative of some backstage staff. However, according to The Scotsman, the strike, which could have also affected performances of Don Giovanni, was voted down two hours later.

Union members had also voted to take strike action last month over the issue, but plans were suspended after Alex Neil, an influential member of the Scottish Parliament, wrote to both the union and the company asking for the strike to be suspended while negotiations continued.

Paul McManus, BECTU's Scottish organiser, said, "Our members made it clear from day one that the last thing they wanted was to disrupt performances, particularly given the opera's ongoing perilous financial position."

"But we are disappointed that, after Alex Neil's plea last month, Scottish Opera has chosen not to enter into discussions. BECTU's members have waited until the last moment to see if management will respond, but have been given no other option."

Scottish Opera recently announced that it will stage four operas during the 2006-07 season under new artistic director Alex Reedijk, after the Scottish government forced the company to cease all fully staged production for the entire 2005-06 season in order to repay accumulated debt.

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