BECTU, Equity and MU to have direct representation on working group

ENO English National OperaUnions are to have a say in the future of English National Opera after a rescue package was revealed,

The future of ENO was in doubt after it was placed into special measures, meaning it was no longer part of the national portfolio of arts organisations whose members receive regular funding.

But when the general secretaries of BECTU, Equity and the Musicians’ Union on Friday met with senior management, they were informed the Arts Council has provided funding for the next two years, in addition to transition funding, subject to ENO meeting a number of financial targets.

The plans should allow the company to return to the Arts Council’s national portfolio in November 2015, at which point ENO would expect to receive funding again.

In a joint statement, the unions said: “We are totally committed to the work of ENO and would oppose any plans to change the status of the company to part-time. Management explained that as a result of last year’s 29% budget cut, its work would be need to be less ambitious and that fewer risks could be taken during a period where balancing the books would be vital to restoring confidence in the company. A new chief executive is to be recruited as soon as possible.

“It was agreed that the unions would have direct representation on a working group that would also include representatives from all departments within the company. This group would meet senior management monthly and would be updated on all artistic and financial aspects of the business plan.

“It was agreed that a further meeting at general secretary level with senior management would take place in June and in advance of the unions’ meeting with the Arts Council.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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