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To: ENO’s Interim CEO, Jenny Mollica, and Chairman of the Board, Dr Harry Brünjes

Fair wage on stage: Don’t slash ENO chorus contracts

We urge you to abandon your plans to make dramatic cuts to ENO chorus and stage management contracts. Your proposal to reduce chorus contracts to cover just six months of the year would slash pay by 40%, making it near impossible to live on ENO salaries.

We understand that these cuts result from your plans to reduce the ENO’s opera season in London following a reduction in Arts Council England funding. However, we believe these proposals are disproportionate, unsustainable for Equity members at ENO and show disregard for your artistic workforce.

Despite announcing that the ENO will establish a new base in Manchester, you have refused to guarantee any involvement in Manchester for your existing permanent artistic workforce, as well as refusing to confirm that there will be no compulsory redundancies. You are also seeking detrimental changes to chorus contracts which would worsen their terms of employment at the same time as they experience a catastrophic drop in their income.

We demand that the ENO chorus are guaranteed:

• A seven month permanent contract, with paid holiday to be taken in addition to the seven months.
• Chorus to be given first refusal of any work in Manchester, on union negotiated terms and conditions.
• No compulsory redundancies.
• No worsening of terms to the current chorus house agreement.
• An annual vocal maintenance payment to cover singing lessons, coaching and support with vocal health when the chorus are not working on ENO shows.
• A regular weekday off each week, enabling the chorus to plan for other work.

Why is this important?

David John-Newman, ENO Chorus Member and Workplace Representative for Equity:

“For years, my colleagues in the ENO chorus have dedicated their professional lives to bringing the best and most accessible opera to the widest and most diverse audiences possible. We are truly excited about an additional ENO base being located in Manchester but heartbroken there are no concrete plans to take the performing workforce there and share great ENO experiences with audiences in the North West. In addition, ENO are reducing the chorus contract to just six months and offering a wage which will be unsustainable for work in central London.

“On a personal level I am devastated to think that, being born in Manchester and having had to come to London to fulfil my dream of being an opera singer, the chance for me to go back and inspire other Mancunians to consider working in the performing arts is lost because of these ill thought out plans. The government’s ambition to “Level Up” will in fact lead to less opportunity to access opera unless you are of means. We don’t want to have to ballot for industrial action, all we want is a ‘Fair wage on Stage’.”




2024-01-06 00:45:38 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2024-01-05 17:20:21 +0000

500 signatures reached

2024-01-04 19:26:34 +0000

100 signatures reached

2024-01-04 17:00:45 +0000

50 signatures reached

2024-01-04 14:31:12 +0000

25 signatures reached

2024-01-04 12:43:53 +0000

10 signatures reached