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Friday, 27 April, 2001, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK
Talks avert opera strike
Jane Eaglen in Turandot
Bectu petitioned the audience at Turandot
Management and staff at the Royal Opera House have hammered out an agreement that will avert threatened strike action.

Workers had voted for industrial action following alleged victimisation of a union official.

Both sides agreed that a disciplinary committee with an independent chair should consider the charges during talks at the arbitration service Acas.

Tony Hall
New ROH director Tony Hall took over on 1 April

The broadcast union Bectu and the ROH welcomed the agreement.

As many backstage staff, from scene changers to maintenance staff are members of Bectu, strike action could have disrupted performances.

Disiplinary action

The action arose because Bectu claimed that the ROH took unfair taken disciplinary action against its representative Pat Styles.

Styles is presently suspended from duty pending a disciplinary hearing following allegations of misconduct in relation to his colleagues.

The Royal Opera House
The ROH is also home to the Royal Ballet
Previous Acas agreements had broken down before implementation as Bectu had wanted the disciplinary hearing to be abandoned completely.

Under this latest agreement he will remain off-duty until the case has been heard by a three-person panel, which includes one nominee each from Bectu and the ROH management.

The two sides also agreed that in future concerns about union representatives will be dealt with by an agreed procedure that would be likely to avert conflict and the threat of a strike.

Union officials are now due to meet management in an attempt to re-establish a positive working relationship.

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Talks may avert opera strike
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