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ROH demo last night, be prepared for a repeat


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Thought I had better post a warning about this.  Last night there was a demo outside the Opera House, the noise level was excruciating as they were blowing some sort of orange trumpet things.  I really pity to ROH staff as the doors did almost nothing to diminish the noise, when I came out of the lift you could still hear the racket in the amphi , though luckily not in the auditorium.

 

I'm told it is something to do with a staffing dispute.  A particularly unpleasant aspect was that they were filming people going in which I found both disturbing and intrusive.  As they started about 7.20, I think they imagined their noise might disrupt the performance, hopefully when they find out it didn't there may not be a repeat tonight.  The police were in attendance but were doing nothing, presumably disturbing the peace is no longer considered a crime.

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1 minute ago, Sim said:

These disturbing demos have been going on for a few weeks, MAB.  Luckily you can't hear it once you are inside.  

 

Oh yes you can.  It's audible all the way from the downstairs toilets and the entrance to the Stalls Circle.

 

To be quite frank, I am significantly sympathetic towards the cause, but the method of demonstrating is causing them to lose my support.

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Because they have been ignored and victimised by their employer (the outsourcer/subcontractor) for daring to request a living wage and the ROH, as a big customer of their employer, is in a better position to exert pressure on their behalf.

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I think that this issue has been discussed under another thread as  the noise and disturbance have been going on for about a fortnight.

 

The ROH was not the employer but has, apparently, sought to discuss with Kier (the contractor) and the people who lost their jobs in order to resolve the issues in a way which brings a stop to the demonstrations.

 

As to the underlying reasons, it's possibly another of those instances where it's difficult to know who to believe.

 

The threatening behaviour  and filming are regrettable and those most affected inside the building must surely be the diners in the Crush Room.

 

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13 minutes ago, Lindsay said:

Because they have been ignored and victimised by their employer (the outsourcer/subcontractor) for daring to request a living wage and the ROH, as a big customer of their employer, is in a better position to exert pressure on their behalf.

 

And because it attracts more attention than doing it outside the subcontractor's?

 

They have got the living London wage, I understand?

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Attracting attention is really the whole point of protesting. 

 

I understand that the ROH did switch to the London living wage for its cleaners in January but that some of those who had agitated to get it were then fired upon what appeared to be very slight pretexts.  That appears to be the basis of the current protest.  

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4 minutes ago, Lindsay said:

I understand that the ROH did switch to the London living wage for its cleaners in January ....

 

 

As the cleaning is subcontracted to Kier, the ROH will not have a role in setting wage levels. [Good to know that the cleaners have now got the London living wage, of course.]

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I understood that the people who had been sacked had lost their jobs because of a variety of seemingly minor issues.  I can't comment more on that.

 

As an ex-civil servant I am opposed to outsourcing as a matter of principle.  Our cleaners were TUPEd over to an external contractor many years ago.  They were able to keep their jobs at reduced pay.  Every time the contract came up for renewal the same thing happened.  Reduced hours, reduced pay, greater workload.

 

In view of the way the Sheffield tree protesters have been treated I am surprised there has been no intervention by the police.

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I can't help thinking all the noise is counterproductive, if it had been a regular demo e.g. placards, leafleting, it would give the patrons a better idea of their grievances and perhaps some sympathy for their cause.

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Customers of outsourcers do have a role in setting wages Capybara.  They can make it a term of their contract with the service provider that employees receive a living wage.  Several London councils have now adopted this policy for all their contractors.

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15 minutes ago, MAB said:

I can't help thinking all the noise is counterproductive, if it had been a regular demo e.g. placards, leafleting, it would give the patrons a better idea of their grievances and perhaps some sympathy for their cause.

 

Quite.  When they leafleted on the way into the Dmitri Hvorostovsky memorial concert, they did so in silence, presumably out of respect for the occasion.  I took a leaflet and listened to them. I have been at the ROH on three subsequent occasions and, being very noise- and crowd- sensitive as well as just being a normal human being with functioning ears, am now completely fed up with them, to the point that they have lost my respect even though the principle of the protest is something I continue to support.

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13 minutes ago, RuthE said:

 

When they leafleted on the way into the Dmitri Hvorostovsky memorial concert, they did so in silence, presumably out of respect for the occasion.  

 

They weren't silent when I arrived for that concert.  When offered a leaflet that evening, I declined and reminded the lady that it was a memorial concert so perhaps they took it on board then.

 

I am also fed up with the noise, which hurts my ears when queuing to enter the ROH.  The noise can be heard from Drury Lane!

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As ballet.co decided it wasn't appropriate to post my theme on this topic I wrote to Alex Beard. His reply said the London Living Wage had been granted in January  2014 (I didn't realise it had started that early).

It is unfortunate that the outsourcing group, Kier, has such a poor reputation. Just a few weeks ago it was in the news for illegal blacklisting of trades union workers. 

I fully understand why people attending ROH find the demonstration annoying. The cacophony last Friday made me think I was at a Paris demonstration! However, I find the cleaners very efficient, working in the Ladies toilets during the performance so that they are clean for the intervals, and as far as I can make out, the reasons for the dismissals are not strong. The cleaners and porters help to make the opera house work efficiently; yet their daily wage rate is less than the cost of many ROH tickets.

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Thanks SheilaC - that interesting. The Cleaners' Union (CAIWU) announced in January 2018 that Kier-employed cleaners at the ROH would get the London Living Wage backdated to Nov 2017.  But I see there is a report that cleaners sub-contracted by Mitie to the ROH won that right in 2014 - https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-opera-house-living-wage-3119205

 

It seems rather outside the spirit of the thing if the House publicly announced its commitment to the LLW for Mitie workers and then went on to sub-contract with Kier who did not honour any such commitment until this year. 

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8 hours ago, Lindsay said:

Customers of outsourcers do have a role in setting wages Capybara.  They can make it a term of their contract with the service provider that employees receive a living wage.  Several London councils have now adopted this policy for all their contractors.

 

And sometimes the outsourcers will even abide by the terms of those contracts ;) 

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8 hours ago, Lindsay said:

Customers of outsourcers do have a role in setting wages Capybara.  They can make it a term of their contract with the service provider that employees receive a living wage.  Several London councils have now adopted this policy for all their contractors.

 

That's very helpful, Lindsay. Thank you for that explanation.

It seems very remiss that the arrangement reached with one contractor was not enshrined in the agreement with a subsequent one.

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7 hours ago, SheilaC said:

The cleaners and porters help to make the opera house work efficiently; yet their daily wage rate is less than the cost of many ROH tickets.

 

I think you'll find huge swathes of British workers earn less per day than the cosy of many ROH tickets.  People on pensions and benefits fare even worse.

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23 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

I understood that the people who had been sacked had lost their jobs because of a variety of seemingly minor issues.  I can't comment more on that.

 

As an ex-civil servant I am opposed to outsourcing as a matter of principle.  Our cleaners were TUPEd over to an external contractor many years ago.  They were able to keep their jobs at reduced pay.  Every time the contract came up for renewal the same thing happened.  Reduced hours, reduced pay, greater workload.

 

In view of the way the Sheffield tree protesters have been treated I am surprised there has been no intervention by the police.

Hear, hear.  I worked at The Barbicsn for several years and opposed outsourcing every time I could.  Our paymasters, the Cooration if London, were very keen on it and eventually got their way in one area,  I am happy to report it was a fiasco and was soon abandoned.

 

it stands to reason that if the Outsoucing Company is to make a profit, somebody somewhere must suffer.  Inevitably it is the poor saps at the bottom of the food chain.

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23 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

 

In view of the way the Sheffield tree protesters have been treated I am surprised there has been no intervention by the police.

 

there has been - with the protesters being arrested and/or prevented from protesting

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23 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

As an ex-civil servant I am opposed to outsourcing as a matter of principle.  Our cleaners were TUPEd over to an external contractor many years ago.  They were able to keep their jobs at reduced pay.  Every time the contract came up for renewal the same thing happened.  Reduced hours, reduced pay, greater workload.

 

 

I'm facing being outsourced myself at the moment (or sold to the lowest bidder, if you prefer) and know from past experience it almost never works out well for those being outsourced, and frankly, rarely that well for the original company either. Though there must be cases where it has....? The only initial benefactors seem to the the outsource company landing a nice fat contract, and the person selling us out getting a nice fat bonus for initially seeming to be saving a bit of cash.

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38 minutes ago, zxDaveM said:

 

I'm facing being outsourced myself at the moment (or sold to the lowest bidder, if you prefer) and know from past experience it almost never works out well for those being outsourced, and frankly, rarely that well for the original company either. Though there must be cases where it has....? The only initial benefactors seem to the the outsource company landing a nice fat contract, and the person selling us out getting a nice fat bonus for initially seeming to be saving a bit of cash.

 

In these cases I'd strongly advise you to jump before you're pushed, if that's possible.

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43 minutes ago, MAB said:

 

In these cases I'd strongly advise you to jump before you're pushed, if that's possible.

 

much as I'd like to, I'm at an age where finding another job is going to be very tough. I'll have to hang in there, and hope I can last until retirement not unrealistic :-(

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21 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

Hear, hear.  I worked at The Barbicsn for several years and opposed outsourcing every time I could.  Our paymasters, the Cooration if London, were very keen on it and eventually got their way in one area,  I am happy to report it was a fiasco and was soon abandoned.

 

it stands to reason that if the Outsoucing Company is to make a profit, somebody somewhere must suffer.  Inevitably it is the poor saps at the bottom of the food chain.

 
a significant part of the problem in  the whole thing around outsourcing i s that it becomes the final act of management  in breaking  spanish practice  ridden ways of working,   due to the view held by some that organisations exist to employ  the workers , not  to provide their service 

Trades unions in the UK  could learn a lot from their German counterparts 

another issue is the rise of entryism and  wannabe politicians in trades union roles -   which in the public  sector  really isn't helped by  100 % facility time  roles for 'senior' reps / convenors  -  where other  unions / professional representative organisations   employ their own full time officers 

Edited by Nicola H
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2 hours ago, Nicola H said:

 
a significant part of the problem in  the whole thing around outsourcing i s that it becomes the final act of management  in breaking  spanish practice  ridden ways of working,   due to the view held by some that organisations exist to employ  the workers , not  to provide their service 

Trades unions in the UK  could learn a lot from their German counterparts 

another issue is the rise of entryism and  wannabe politicians in trades union roles -   which in the public  sector  really isn't helped by  100 % facility time  roles for 'senior' reps / convenors  -  where other  unions / professional representative organisations   employ their own full time officers 

 

 

What is "spanish practice ridden ways of working" please?

 

How do German unions differ in the practice from UK unions?

 

 

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