Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Royal Albert Hall, Cameron's Britain, and Franco's Spain

The Royal Albert Hall is one of London's most recognisable buildings, not least on account of its granting a home to the BBC Proms each summer. A monument to the Victorian age, though certainly not a model of good acoustics, its management now appears to have resolved to take Victorianism a little too far, indeed to go beyond a parody of Victorian industrial relations. Despite a majority vote (73% of the employees taking part) for union recognition, a vote which took place on terms agreed between management, the conciliation service, ACAS, and the union in question, BECTU, the RAH management has now reneged, refusing to recognise the union to enable collective bargaining. This truly appalling state of affairs coincides unhappily with new anti-trade union legislation from the government, parts of which David Davis MP, the Conservative MP for Howden and Haltemprice, has likened to something from Franco's Spain. The Royal Albert Hall needs to reconsider, lest its patrons consider, indeed more than consider, a boycott. Perhaps performers might think in such terms too?

(For more details on the dispute from BECTU, click here.)

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