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Friday, 13 July, 2001, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Strike ballot at RSC
The RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon
The RSC is looking for job cuts at its Stratford site
Staff at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) have voted in favour of holding a strike ballot over threatened redundancies.

The vote by 200 members of the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (Bectu) came after the RSC management rejected a call to extend a July 31 deadline for a redundancy volunteers.

Bectu members at the RSC's London base, the Barbican, are also considering a strike ballot over redundancies.

A Bectu spokeswoman said the ballot only covered Bectu members at the company and involved backstage staff, set designers and box office workers.

'Dialogue'

"We hope and believe it won't come to industrial action," she said.

"We will continue to have constructive and meaningful dialogue with staff and their representatives."

Adrian Noble
The RSC's artistic director is Adrian Noble
Bectu is unhappy about the terms and conditions of the redundancy packages on offer.

Bectu is also attempting to extract financial information about the job cuts from the company by making a legal complaint to the Central Arbitration Council.

Talks on large-scale redundancies at the RSC's Stratford and Barbican sites have been going on since the company announced major changes to its operations in May.

A plan to drop the fixed Shakespeare season at Stratford meant the closure of around two-thirds of technical jobs there, said the company.

'Long-term future'

A change in the RSC's strategy in London also threatened redundancies at the Barbican.

The RSC spokeswoman added: "It's about the long-term future of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

"We want to continue our position as a world-class theatre and tourist attraction."

No date for the strike ballot has been announced.

See also:

22 Mar 01 | Arts
Cash boost for arts
30 May 01 | Arts
All change at the RSC
28 Mar 01 | Arts
RSC: Shakespeare and beyond
22 Dec 00 | Entertainment
RSC in strike threat
28 Mar 01 | Arts
RSC eyes new home
24 May 01 | Arts
RSC announces shake-up
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