Strike action at Paris’ iconic Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe has cost the venue a reported €200,000 in box office revenue since commencing last month.
Performances at the national theatre will resume tonight (Thursday) and Friday following weeks of walkouts by workers from two of the three theatre unions, CGT and Force Ouvrière. At present, there is no certainty as to whether shows will continue after Friday, with union representatives indicating they will continue action until a settlement is reached.
Union members voted for industrial action last month after a request for a 7% increase in wages for the 120 permanent employees of the institution was rejected. The first strike was staged on September 23, with shows cancelled on 10 days since then. On each of the impacted days, employees have refused to work for around an hour after 8.30pm, causing evening performances to be cancelled.
The shows impacted have been ‘Jours de Joie’, directed by Stéphane Braunschweig, and ‘Dans la Mesure de l’Impossible’, directed by Tiago Rodrigues.
CGT-Spectacle said in a statement: “For several years, the Odéon salary scale has not been revalued in relation to inflation. (…) In 10 years, employees have seen their salary scale devalued by nearly 10%, to which is added the current inflation, which reaches nearly 7% over one year.”
Theatre administrator Patricia Stibbe told AFP that workers had been offered a 3.5% rise and that it could not afford to go up to 7%. A Synptac-CGT-Odéon representative told the agency that “there is a good chance” members will continue to take action until a settlement is reached.
The theatre has been updating ticket-holders with information concerning cancellations on a day-by-day basis. It has offered refunds to all ticket-holders with opportunities to switch to different days limited.
The Odéon, located on the left bank of the Seine next to the Luxembourg Garden, is one of France’s six national theatres. The 800-seat theatre dates back to 1782.