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Equity responds to WNO funding threat

Equity has responded to news that the Chair of Arts Council England threatened to cut £3.2m of Welsh National Opera funding.

Equity are fighting against pay cutsand compulsory redundancies at WNO

A Freedom of Information request by VAN music magazine has shown that the Chair of Arts Council England threatened to cut £3.2m of Welsh National Opera (WNO) funding after its music director spoke out about the company’s financial difficulties due to the impact of Arts Council cuts on the organisation. 

Equity is fighting against compulsory redundancies at WNO. The redundancies could be the result of proposals to change chorus contracts that would cut pay and undermine job security.

Commenting, Simon Curtis, Wales and South West England Equity Official, said: “This correlates with what we already knew with regards to the inability of the management and board of WNO to fight publicly for its own survival. How they can be 'pleased' that they have received the Transform grant, which is requiring them to rip the heart out of the performing company by diminishing the full-time status of employees to accommodate a 35% ACE cut to their overall budget. It is extraordinary considering the impact this will have on the livelihoods of our members. 
“If they will not continue to make the public case for WNO and funding for opera more generally, Equity will continue to do so in both England and Wales through direct interaction and our campaigning as part of the upcoming General Election. We do this, however, whilst continuing to state that our resistance to the current proposals for our members cannot, and will not, be contingent on the decisions of funders. 

We will not accept compulsory redundancies and the funders and bosses must know: Equity will keep all options open to fight an attack on our members' pay and conditions.”

You can get involved in our campaign to save the arts at the 2024 General Election.

Our General Election demands for all parties includes increasing UK arts & entertainment funding to 0.5% of GDP. This would bring the UK into line with the European average for arts funding, and provide £1bn of new funding for the devolved nations.

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