Theatre members of the Bectu union, which represents people working in theatre, film and broadcasting, are balloting on a ground-breaking pay deal in London as part of an agreement on Sunday opening.
The Society of London Theatres (SOLT) is offering a pay increase of 5.5 per cent, double time on Sundays, and improvements in maternity, paternity, and adoption leave entitlements.
Other concessions include an extension of union bargaining rights to cover freelance workers in sound and automation departments, and the introduction of an employers contribution into the money purchase pension scheme open to theatre staff working under the agreement.
Union officials have advised members that the deal is the best that could be negotiated, and are optimistic that it will be accepted in a postal ballot that closes on 14 January.
In recent years London theatres have been able to put on Sunday performances, but only by striking one-off local agreements with union branches.
Full-time staff working on Sundays will now receive payment for eight hours at double time while “performance” staff, who tend not to be permanently employed, will be paid for four hours at double time.
In return, any SOLT theatre will be able to open on Sundays without any need for local negotiation. The agreement will cover 40 theatres in London, employing nearly 700 BECTU members.