UK Theatre and BECTU have been in discussions for some time now to revise the UK Theatre/BECTU Agreement. UK Theatre would like BECTU to effectively engage with changes required to reflect the diversity of roles, activity and working practices of theatres in membership.
As reported last month, UK Theatre advised BECTU that, in the absence of BECTU agreeing to significant revisions to modernise the agreement, UK Theatre is not able to offer any increase in the rates set out in the Agreement beyond those required by statute at Grades 3, 4 and 5 to bring them to £8.21. Negotiations having reached an impasse, UK Theatre agreed to meet with BECTU at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
At the ACAS meeting on 3rd June, BECTU reduced its demand for an increase of the Grade 1 and 2 rates and meal and subsistence allowances from 5.0% to 3.0%, and sought to once again reaffirm its commitment to negotiations with UK Theatre to revise the Agreement.
BECTU had given the same assurance over the course of three successive pay reviews but in April formally advised UK Theatre that it doubted it would be able to agree to the changes required to modernise the Agreement.
UK Theatre therefore, asked BECTU for an indication as to the elements of the Agreement where they believed that agreed changes would arise from such further discussions. BECTU refused to give any such indications and also failed to provide any assurance that it had truly changed its position. Due to time constraints the meeting concluded at this point and UK Theatre undertook to advise BECTU of its response at a later date.
The UK Theatre Board is considering the matter but it is very unlikely that an agreement will be reached with BECTU. In that event the terms of the UK Theatre/BECTU Agreement will continue to apply going forward but other than revising minimum rates of pay to meet statutory requirements, all other rates and allowances and general terms of the agreement will remain unchanged. UK Theatre members will continue to be obliged to meet the terms of the Agreement and similarly, UK Theatre members with existing localised arrangements will be able to continue with those arrangements.
UK Theatre members will be aware of BECTU’s press releases regarding the pay negotiations and that the tone of those communications is not constructive. It is likely that further statements will be issued over the coming weeks. UK Theatre will only issue responses and updates to substantive issues and developments.
UK Theatre has made it very clear to BECTU for some time that the UK Theatre/BECTU Agreement had to be modernised and it continues to seek to engage with BECTU in order to manage this matter and maintain an ongoing relationship.
Date Published: 13 June 2019