ENO musicians vote to strike

Musicians Union members of English National Opera’s orchestra and music staff have voted overwhelmingly to strike in protest at plans to axe 19 posts and make their jobs part-time.

The decision to cut the staff and reduce contracts by 50% brought the immediate resignation of Martyn Brabbins, ENO’s music director.

“Our members don’t take ballots for potential industrial action lightly” said the MU’s general secretary, Naomi Pohl. “We want to avoid a strike if possible, and management need to bring alternative proposals to the table in early January if they want to avoid this as well.”

The plans, which had been discussed with Arts Council England (ACE) prior to their announcement in October 2023, are a result of decreased funding for ENO since 2014, other financial challenges such as inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, and the instruction to Arts Council England from former culture secretary Nadine Dorries to move funding out of London, the MU said. 

Earlier this month ENO management announced Manchester as a new base for some performances, wellbeing and learning activities.


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