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English National Opera strike suspended

A planned strike by members of the English National Opera has been suspended.

Members of Equity and the Musicians’ Union (MU) were due to walk out on Thursday – the opening night of a performance of The Handmaid’s Tale – in a dispute over cuts.

An Equity spokesperson said: “We are pleased to announce that Equity has reached an interim settlement with the English National Opera (ENO) for the chorus.

“Although this does not mark the absolute end of negotiations, we are confident that constructive talks can lead to a full resolution in the coming weeks.

“Consequently, industrial action on the Handmaid’s Tale on February 1 is suspended.

“This suspension also allows time for the ENO to complete its negotiations with the Musicians’ Union, who are also suspending their action, and to confirm the final details of both offers.

“Our mandate for industrial action remains live until such time a full settlement is reached.”

Naomi Pohl, Musicians’ Union general secretary, said: “The Musicians’ Union and Equity are postponing full strike action in order to allow time for urgent talks on improved proposals from English National Opera management. Equity has reached an interim headline settlement for the chorus but is working on the details of a final deal.

“The Musicians’ Union has made some progress but requires further negotiation to achieve a settlement that will be acceptable to its members. Consequently, industrial action on The Handmaid’s Tale on February 1 is suspended but our mandate for industrial action remains live until such a time a full settlement is reached.

“The Musicians’ Union will continue taking action short of a strike while negotiations are ongoing and we have notified the management of further strike dates in two weeks’ time. The MU is going to Acas on Tuesday to continue negotiations and try to achieve a better overall package for our members.”