Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

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English Nationwide Opera (ENO) is going through an unprecedented strike. Musicians and singers are protesting in opposition to job cuts and adjustments. This marks a major second within the firm’s historical past, in addition to within the arts sector.

A Strike on Opening Evening

The ENO’s orchestra, refrain, and music employees are set to strike on 1 February. This date coincides with the opening evening of “The Handmaid’s Story.” This can be a daring transfer, exhibiting their dedication to the trigger.

The Musicians Union and Fairness are opposing the ENO’s plan to chop 19 orchestra jobs. Additionally they disagree with changing different positions to part-time. This choice might severely have an effect on the livelihoods of many musicians.

The ENO suggests resolving the dispute via negotiations. Nonetheless, the unions really feel stronger actions are mandatory.

A Historic Second

This strike is a historic occasion. It’s the primary full strike motion by Musicians Union members in 44 years. Naomi Pohl, the union’s common secretary, highlights the severity of the state of affairs within the orchestral and opera sectors.

Paul Fleming, from Arts union Fairness, raises a vital level. This dispute is about making opera accessible and offering steady jobs for various abilities.

ENO’s Response

The ENO respects the best to strike however expresses disappointment. They worry audiences will miss experiencing the complete expertise of the ENO firm.

Regardless of the stress, the ENO stays open to discussions. They goal for a sustainable future, according to their funding settlement with Arts Council England.

Main Modifications at ENO

The strike follows ENO’s choice to make refrain, orchestra, and music employees redundant. They proposed re-employing them for six months yearly. This might imply a major change in employment phrases for a lot of.

Martyn Brabbins, ENO’s music director, resigned in mild of those cuts. This choice got here after the ENO misplaced a £12.8m grant from Arts Council England. They have been additionally instructed to relocate exterior London for future grants.

The Transfer to Manchester

The deliberate relocation to Manchester has sparked debate and opposition. Regardless of extra time and funding for the transfer, there’s uncertainty about ENO’s future functioning. The strike has overwhelming help from union members. Amongst MU members at ENO, 93% voted for full strike motion. Equally, all refrain members from Fairness voted for the strike.


This strike on the ENO is greater than only a protest in opposition to job cuts. It’s a name for preserving the integrity of opera and guaranteeing honest employment for proficient musicians. It’s a vital second for the humanities neighborhood, reflecting broader questions on the way forward for tradition and employment within the arts.

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