West End Labor Disputes Continue
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by BWW News Desk
According to reports, ongoing negotiations between the Ambassador Theater Group (ATG) and the 25,000 member media and entertainment union BECTU are resuming to avoid darkening West End shows such as The Lion King at the Lyceum and Wicked at the Apollo.
Contract issues include pay, work hours, and changes from weekly to monthly pay.
Talks had been ongoing at the offices of U.K. arbitration body A.C.A.S. but came to a hault Feb. 25 after ten hours.
BECTU accused ATG of sabotaging the talks by making changes to an agreement reached only last September, and quickly began balloting its members about strike action (as legally required). Although no details of potential disruption were released, the union issued a statement warning theatergoers they should check in advance whether the shows they have booked might be hit.
In its official statement, the org said, "ATG was stunned and disappointed when BECTU decided to break off from negotiations on Monday. BECTU rejected out of hand an improved pay deal and a three-and-a-half-hour minimum call time (more than had been lobbied for) for all front-of-house staff affected from 1 April. Talks with BECTU have resumed today in the hope of finding swift resolution."