Backstage and front-of-house workers on the West End have accepted a revised pay offer from the Society of London Theatre (SOLT).
The new deal includes a 10% increase to minimum pay rates, as well as a number of revisions in the SOLT/Bectu Collective Bargaining Agreement. This covers pay and working conditions for front-of-house and backstage staff working in wardrobe, sound, box office and stage door.
Union Bectu encouraged its members to vote to accept the revised pay offer following extensive negotiations.
Changes include the removal of a ‘force majeure’ clause from March 31, 2023 and Sunday working hours will remain at time-and-a-half for a further 15 weeks until October 15, 2023. Bectu then expects Sunday working to revert back to double-time, with SOLT arguing that it will work towards continuing the new Sunday arrangements as the society believes it is vital to enable theatre to return to pre-COVID trading levels.
The new pay rates will apply from today (Monday) with other arrangements from the variation agreement ending on this day. This includes the ability to pay workers pro rata based on the number of performances should there be a reduced show schedule thanks to COVID-19.
Show bonuses agreed before the variation agreement will also be reintroduced, along with the TV broadcast and filming clause, which means that those working on a performance that is set to be recorded being entitled to higher pay.
Bectu members voted 89.3% in favour of the revised pay offer.
Head of Bectu Philippa Childs told The Stage: “We’re really pleased to have secured this improved offer for our members, and that through negotiation SOLT has agreed to pay the increase on the Monday immediately following acceptance of the offer, which means more money in our members’ pockets at a time when this counts more than ever.
“In the midst of a theatre talent drain, coupled with the cost-of-living crisis, the revised offer provides a welcome increase to our members’ pay and, critically, ensures that Bectu can continue to review and negotiate improvements to the agreement in the coming years.”
A SOLT spokesperson added: “SOLT welcomes the formal confirmation of acceptance of the offer agreed between the parties at ACAS on August 8.
“SOLT continues to work towards continuing the important Sunday working arrangements that are proving vital to returning the theatre sector back to pre-COVID trading levels and are attracting new audience goers to theatre.”