The Ambassador Theater Group (ATG), one of Britain’s largest theater employers, will lay off more than 1,200 casual workers in September, with unions claiming the delay in releasing the $ 1.57 billion arts stimulus package sterling continues to endanger jobs.
ATG, which has a portfolio comprising the Liverpool Empire, King’s Theater Glasgow and more than half a dozen West End theaters, has confirmed that jobs will disappear when the government cuts its contributions to the holiday program in September, with a zero hour and occasional contract. affected staff.
The company said it had informed casual staff that it would no longer receive leave through the government’s job retention program after the end of August. “The impact of the pandemic, which has left theaters closed since March 16 and without a clear opening date without social distancing, has forced the company to make this difficult decision,” a spokesperson said.
Bectu, the media and entertainment union, lobbied to keep workers on the program and says many theaters are being forced to make cuts due to a combination of the $ 1.57 billion bailout package. sterling not showing in theaters and lack of clear reopening. Dated.
Bectu chief Philippa Childs said the arts revival program was “not working because it’s not fast enough” as businesses were unsure if they would qualify, how much money they would make if they were successful or when the funds would be. received.
Childs added that due to the size and importance of ATG in the industry it “tends to set a trend” and that now the concern was that large-scale layoffs would occur before the plan. government bailout could have an impact.
The Southbank Center said the 400 staff members it was putting at risk of dismissal were going to be offered far worse terms than those typically offered before the lockdown. He said if he paid staff the pre-foreclosure package of three weeks pay for each year of service, it could put them at risk of insolvency.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told Radio 4’s Today program on Wednesday that it was likely November “at the earliest” before theaters had a date they could reopen. without social distancing.
The announcement means that for many theaters the possibility of hosting a Christmas performance or pantomime, which can account for a quarter of some theaters’ annual revenue, is now highly unlikely.
West End producer Cameron Mackintosh said the government’s proposal to announce a date when theaters could not fully reopen until November would be “devastating” for the industry. He said he would have to open the box offices no later than November so that he can get his theaters and productions back up and running by Easter 2021.
In an Evening Standard article he wrote: “If the government is unable to support this, we will likely have to postpone our reopening until next summer, causing further devastating losses to both the clothing industry. London theater and economy. ”
Further theater job cuts were announced this week with Nimax, a company that operates six West End theaters, saying it will cut 130 roles when the holiday program ends on August 31.
Nica Burns, CEO of Nimax, confirmed the job losses, which will affect ticket office workers, stage door workers and technical and management teams. “We would like to reopen our theaters safely as soon as the government allows, put our staff back in place and open as safely as possible,” Burns said.