Unions Warn of New Strikes at Paris Opera Next Week

Classic Arts News   Unions Warn of New Strikes at Paris Opera Next Week
Just as a strike breaks out at La Scala, the management of another august European company, the Op_ra de Paris, has received notice of a new strike to begin next week.

This work stoppage, set to begin at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 14, will be the second labor action against the Op_ra in less than a month. Five days of walkouts at the very end of October by technical staff caused the cancellation of ten performances and cost the company €2.2 million.

Three of the national unions involved — Sud, FO and the FSU — have called for a strike running November 14-30, according to Agence France-Presse. The CGT, a major federation of trade unions and the largest organization taking part, has planned daily walkouts, renewable indefinitely, beginning on the 14th.

This second threatened labor action jeopardizes not only the Op_ra's continued run of Puccini's Tosca, which was disrupted last month, but also a major revival of the Robert Carsen staging of Handel's Alcina and the Op_ra Ballet's holiday presentation of The Nutcracker with Rudolf Nureyev's choreography.

These walkouts by technical workers — which have not as yet been joined by the Op_ra's performers and artistic staff — are but one part of the ongoing strikes throughout France over President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to reform the various national union pension schemes.

With myriad union locals all over the country calling work stoppages at various times, one French website, paris.indymedia.org, has created a page titled "Handy Reference: Your Strikes in November" listing who's walking out when. At the bottom of the page, the editors observed that yesterday was the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

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