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Entertainment Unions back members working at ENO

The General Secretaries of the Musicians' Union (MU), Equity and BECTU have sought an urgent meeting with senior management at the English National Opera. 

The request for the meeting was a response to the sudden departure of the ENO’s chairman and executive director and preceded this week's decision by the Arts Council to place the company into special measures.

The move to special measures means that ENO is no longer part of the national portfolio of arts organisations whose members receive regular funding, which is a serious concern.

John Smith, General Secretary of the MU, said “ENO’s excellent artistic output is not in question and the company continues to produce opera productions of the highest standard. We support the decision John Berry, Artistic Director, has taken to preserve ENO’s full time orchestra and chorus and hope his plans to significantly increase income over this transitional period are successful. The Entertainment Unions collectively represent hundreds of workers who rely on the company’s survival. We hope the Arts Council will continue to invest in its future.”

The MU is currently in negotiation with ENO regarding the company’s plans to add an annual musical to its programme, starting with Sweeney Todd which opens at the end of March.

ENO is to be granted funding of £12.38m in both 2015/16 and 2016/17, with a transition grant of £3.7m in year one and £2.85m in year two.

Responding to the announcement Harry Brunjes, acting chair of ENO, said:

"We are very grateful to Arts Council England (ACE) for awarding ENO £30.5m over two years and thank them for their acknowledgement of our exceptional artistic programme. The ENO Board will continue to work closely with ACE to inspire confidence in our future plans, the management of the company and the London Coliseum."

The recognised unions have been assured that efforts are now underway to schedule the meeting requested by the unions two weeks ago.

Published: 13/02/2015

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