The anticipated strike at the English National Opera (ENO) has been temporarily put on hold. This decision comes as a relief to many, just before the opening night of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Strike Suspension: A Brief Respite
The world of opera faced a tense moment recently with the English National Opera at its center. A planned strike, set to disrupt the much-awaited opening night of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” has now been suspended. This development is a temporary sigh of relief for the opera community.
Unions in Negotiation
The strike was initially called by members of Equity, a union representing those in the performing arts, and the Musicians’ Union (MU). This action was a response to significant pay cuts and a shortened opera season in London, following decreased funding from the Arts Council England.
Equity’s members faced a drastic 40% reduction in pay due to the proposed cuts at the ENO. This led to a strong protest, demanding fair compensation and job security.
A Step Toward Resolution
An Equity spokesperson shared some hopeful news: they have reached an interim settlement with the ENO for the chorus. While this doesn’t mark the end of negotiations, it opens the door to more positive and constructive discussions. The suspension of the strike, especially for the February 1 performance of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” buys time for further dialogue.
This pause also allows the ENO to continue its discussions with the Musicians’ Union. They, too, have temporarily suspended their strike action but emphasize that their mandate for industrial action remains active until a full settlement is achieved.
While Equity may have reached an interim agreement, the Musicians’ Union, led by General Secretary Naomi Pohl, is still in the midst of negotiations. They have seen some progress but need more discussions to reach a satisfactory settlement for their members.
The Musicians’ Union has suspended their planned action for “The Handmaid’s Tale” on February 1 but remains ready to strike if necessary. They will continue actions short of a strike as negotiations proceed and have informed the ENO management of potential future strike dates.