Thursday, October 29, 1998 Published at 00:14 GMT
Royal Opera House staff spared the axe
The Royal Opera House: Threat of mass redundancies has receded
The threat of mass redundancies at the Royal Opera House (ROH) has eased after four hours of negotiations between management and the unions.
He said the actors' union Equity, who are representing dancers, singers and technical staff, had shown more flexibility.
'Much improved proposals'
Equity, for its part, said management had made concessions on overtime and pay. Equity spokesman Ian McGarry said: "They listened to the press and our members and they came back with much improved proposals."
Negotiations are to continue on Thursday but it looks as if this latest crisis at the Royal Opera House is all but over.
He said: "I am very pleased to be able to say that the possibility of the closure of the Royal Opera House has receded considerably."
'Minimal compulsory job losses'
Sir Colin said the agreement would result in "minimal compulsory redundancies" but most job losses would be voluntary redundancies or the non-replacement of vacancies.
The Royal Ballet and Royal Opera faced complete shutdown between January and the end of 1999 if no agreement was reached.
Sir Colin said last month indefinite closure and redundancies would follow if unions could not agree new working contracts by 26 October.
The actors' union Equity protested against the arbitrary deadline, describing it "like negotiating with a gun held against our heads".
Bectu and the Musicians' Union are also negotiating on behalf of about 80 corps de ballet, 36 full-time opera chorus, the 104-strong orchestra, backstage and front-of-house staff.
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