The King’s and Festival theatres in Edinburgh face a summer of strikes as Bectu union members have begun a ballot for strike action over compulsory redundancies. Staff also allege that management are deliberately ignoring health and safety laws.
There are also rumours that John Stalker, the chief executive, is applying for other jobs to get away from the current financial mess.
The dispute centres round management’s decision to break off negotiations with Bectu and to push ahead with two compulsory redundancies in the technical department, despite the union putting forward numerous alternatives which could easily have saved the required amount.
Paul McManus, the Scottish organiser for Bectu, said, “In order to protect the health and safety of our members, the public and performers working on stage, we must fight to keep these two jobs. Someone dies virtually every year working in the theatre industry.
“Yet management have continually ignored our warnings that health and safety laws are being broken all the time, because they won’t give technical staff the time or resources to comply with legislation which has been in place for many years.”
Bectu is calling on Edinburgh City Council to launch an investigation into the running of the King’s and Festival theatres.