Last stand by stage-hands strips Paris Opra of its glamour
Wednesday 05 December 2007
The wave of French strikes ended 10 days ago but just like in the Asterix stories one small community of indomitable Gauls still holds out against President Nicolas Sarkozy. Unfortunately for opera and ballet lovers, the die-hards are a few militant stage-hands at the Paris Opra.
Seventeen performances have been cancelled during the peak pre-Christmas season and 47,000 theatre-goers, including thousands of children, have been turned away in the past six weeks. Most of the Opra's 1,680 employees have agreed an outline deal for a new early retirement scheme, more generous than the terms offered to transport workers who suspended their strikes two weekends ago.
A small number of stage-hands at the Paris Opra, mostly belonging to the Trotskyist-aligned trades union federation, SUD, are refusing to return to work. Many performances of the ballet, The Nutcracker, and the opera, La Traviata, have been given in "rehearsal" or "concert" form, without scenery or costumes.
A new production of Wagner's Tannhauser, due to open tomorrow, may also have to be given in concert form. The Opra's director, Grard Mortier, said he could lose €8m (5.7m) if the strikes continue until the new year.
Employees at the two Paris Opra houses, the Palais Garnier and the Bastille, are among 500,000 state workers who have rights to retire early with full pensions. Under the present scheme, dancers retire at 40 and technicians at 55. President Sarkozy is trying to bring the early retirement schemes closer in line with the pension regime of other state sector workers.
An outline deal would force Opra employees to work an extra 18 months to claim full pensions. Anyone who worked longer would earn a higher pension.
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 5 Muslim women's rights campaigner writes heartfelt letter to girls thinking of joining Isis
Ukraine crisis: Putin will cut gas to Europe unless Russia is paid by the end of the week
Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
Missing Mexico teachers: Protests organised by union quashed in violent police crackdown
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we now know about man named as Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Ukraine crisis: 'One miscalculation, and Britain faces an existential threat to our whole being...'
£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...
£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...