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Friday, 9 March, 2001, 18:53 GMT
Strike threat at Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House
Major disruption faces the Royal Opera House
Workers at the Royal Opera House are considering strike action after crisis talks with management broke down without a solution.

The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinema and Theatre Union (BECTU) is to ballot its members for industrial action over alleged victimisation of its Covent Garden branch secretary.

Despite both sides meeting through arbitration service ACAS, the union claims the ROH has unfairly taken disciplinary action against representative Pat Styles.

The union is now asking members whether to go on all out strike or to opt for other disruptive measures to show their anger.

The majority of backstage staff are members of BECTU so strike action could effectively bring the Opera House to a standstill.

Disciplinary hearing

The union had originally threatened industrial action if the management refused conciliation talks, but now claims it has gone back on an agreement to stop a disciplinary hearing.

The ROH said it had received complaints against Styles and was therefore duty bound to investigate.

An outside personnel officer was asked to review the case and as a result an internal hearing is set to take place.

A spokesman for the ROH said the union expected the disciplinary hearing to be abandoned.

He said: "The management does not feel it is appropriate to drop it.

"If a complaint is made against any individual it is only fair to the other parties involved that it should be seen through."

The talks did achieve a positive result in setting up a new committee to deal with day-to-day issues between staff and management.

General secretary Gerry Morrissey said: "We were encouraged by the acceptance by acting executive director John Seekings of a programme of training for both management and workplace union representatives.

"These things are both necessary and long overdue. If it had been in place this conflict may have been averted."

See also:

11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
BBC's Hall takes top opera job
19 Jan 00 | Entertainment
New hitches hit Royal Opera House
01 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Royal rebirth for Opera House
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