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National Staff Consulted on London Living Wage Deal
The Stage News
Natalie Woolman

February 2, 2012
View the Original Article

Front of house and hospitality staff working at the National Theatre are being consulted on a new pay deal that would ensure they are all paid the London living wage.

Backstage union BECTU launched a consultative ballot on the issue last week. If agreed, the new arrangement would see all front of house, sales and hospitality staff at the NT paid at least £8.30 an hour - the level of the 2011 London living wage.

According to BECTU, the National has agreed to pay the LLW in principle, providing that members agree to a number of changes to their employment conditions aimed at standardising terms of employment.

The union says although some working conditions would improve as a result of these changes, others would worsen. For example, if accepted, holiday pay would be paid at average earnings rather than the basic wage, but minimum shifts would be cut from four to three and a half hours.

In another equalising measure, the NT wants to pay overtime rates after 35 hours for all staff. At the moment, catering staff have to work 40 hours, ushers 30 hours and other staff 35 hours before this premium rate applies.

A spokesman for the National said: “We’re pleased that the current offer to directly-employed BECTU staff enables us to meet their aspiration for the current London living wage rate of £8.30, an offer made possible by the ongoing improvements in customer service, operational efficiency, staff flexibility and skills development that will make this financially sustainable in the longer term.”

Corresponding with BECTU in 2011, the National said it hoped most staff would feel that the gains outweigh the losses in the plans. The ballot closes on February 3.