ENO faces strike over pay - without musical director

The troubled English National Opera is to begin the new year facing a strike by more than half of its staff and without a music director.

Members of the union Bectu, who work in the technical, managerial and administrative departments at the Coliseum, the ENO's London home, have voted by a massive majority - 94.6 per cent of those who voted - in favour of industrial action over its pay claim.

While there are no operas, only ballets, on stage until late January, strikes would hit rehearsals for new productions as well as the resumption of operatic performances from 3 February.

Meanwhile, Oleg Caetani, who was due to take up his appointment as music director shortly, is to renounce the position, and a search for an alternative candidate will begin next month.

The company is already reeling from the ousting of Sean Doran, chief executive and artistic director, after less than two years in the post, and the subsequent resignation of Martin Smith, board chairman.

Announcing the ballot result yesterday, Bectu staff said the decision had not been taken lightly but followed months of "frustrating negotiation" culminating in a "derisory" pay offer of 2.77 per cent.

Tony Norton, national officer, said staff had worked extremely hard in the past five years to keep the ENO afloat. They had responded positively to constant management pleas for restraint on pay "with the promise of better times ahead" once refurbishment work was complete.

But he said: "This latest offer on pay is the final insult for a long-suffering dedicated workforce who deserve far more recognition than they currently receive."

Gerry Morrissey, assistant general secretary, added: "The ballot result indicates the level of dissatisfaction the staff have with the board.

"Instead of uniting the organisation after the recent departure of the chairman and chief executive, they have chosen confrontation with the union over pay."

Meanwhile, Mr Caetani is to become an ENO guest conductor instead of music director, in a move which may satisfy critics who believe the company needs a full-time leader.

When Mr Caetani, 48, was appointed last February, concerns were raised about his commitment to spending three months a year in Melbourne, Australia, where he is chief conductor and artistic director of the symphony orchestra.

In a statement issued yesterday, the ENO said that he had met Loretta Tomasi, the new chief executive, and John Berry, artistic director, "to review ENO's organisation structure and future direction in the light of recent changes. As a result of these discussions, they have jointly agreed that Oleg Caetani will not be taking up the position of music director but will maintain an ongoing relationship with ENO as guest conductor."

He had not signed a contract so no severance package will be paid.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living