I put two questions to the UK Musicians Union this morning about the presence of the Brazilian conductor, Roberto Minczuk, who has sacked half his orchestra and will audition for replacements in London next week.
As expected, I received forthright answers.
Why, I asked, were Liverpool musicians not encouraged to boycott Minczuk when US unions were telling their members to do so?
MU: Unlike US labour law, punitive UK trade union law makes this very difficult. A ballot of all players would have had to be held, the proper notifications given etc. The players weren’t prepared to do this – but they have issued strong statements of support for their Brazilian colleagues.
What is the MU’s position, then, on next week’s auditions?
MU: Our line is that of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), which says ‘FIM has called on all musicians to boycott these auditions which will be held in May 2011’. We’ll endeavour to notify people attending the auditions of the statements issued by Brazilian colleagues.
That seems to be as clear as it gets, under the eyes of the law.