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WNO chorus campaign to save jobs

Singers from WNO are campaigning to save the jobs at risk of redundancy at the WNO.

Equity members from the WNO Chorus held a rally on 27 June (photo credit Helen Anne Smith)

Singers from the Welsh National Opera have yesterday (Thursday 27 June) signed an open letter to Secretary of State for Wales David Davies, and the Shadow Secretary of State Jo Stevens, calling them to intervene to save the jobs at risk of redundancy at the WNO.

The letter was signed at a public rally outside the Wales Millennium Centre, home of the WNO, and is being held by Equity, the performing arts and entertainment trade union that represents members of the WNO chorus. The letters will be delivered by hand to local constituency offices next week.

We can also reveal that the constituency of Cardiff South & Penarth, the home of the WNO, has been hit by a significant arts funding cut. Research commissioned by Equity and carried out by the Autonomy research institute, shows that the Arts Council of Wales to Cardiff South & Penarth has cut funding by £5.48 million (15%) in real terms over the last decade. Looking at Wales overall, the Arts Council of Wales has cut funding across the board by 30% since 2017, while funding to Cardiff East, the home of Jo Stevens, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, has been reduced by £29 million or 47% compared to 10 years ago.

In comparison, the UK overall has seen a 16% real terms cut from in arts funding from national bodies (Arts Councils in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, alongside Creative Scotland) since 2017. You can find out more about Equity’s research and search for arts funding data in each constituency here.


The letter, signed by Equity unionised members of the WNO, reads as follows:

David TC Davies – Secretary of State for Wales;
Jo Stevens – Shadow Secretary of State for Wales

Dear David, Dear Jo,

We, the full-time members of the chorus of the Welsh National Opera, write to you both to demand you commit to taking action to save our jobs.

As a consequence of cuts to funding from both Arts Council England and Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru/Arts Council of Wales, the WNO has proposed compulsory redundancies, a reduction of contracted working weeks, and at least a 15% salary cut to Equity members working at WNO.

These proposals, driven by austerity in public arts funding, undermine the job security of us as workers in this highly skilled professional ensemble. Jobs like ours are rare in this industry. To put at risk some of the few secure contracts available to creative workers in Wales would damage our industry, and the economy.

One of you will likely be the next Secretary of State for Wales. We demand that you intervene on our behalf, and on behalf of the Welsh creative industry, to safeguard our jobs through a guarantee of additional funding.

This money cannot go into bricks and mortar, or to outside consultants. It must be ringfenced to support these rare, high quality, secure jobs in Wales.

This is not a party political demand. This is a demand from workers in Wales, that both of you do what it takes to support high quality Welsh jobs for the long term.

Wales deserves better, and nothing less will do. #SaveOurWNO #AchubOCC

Yours collectively,

The Chorus of the WNO

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