Just in: ENO slashes management wage bill

The Stage reports this morning (from an official leak) that the senior directors of English National Opera have taken a pay hit and made other cuts in an attempt to balance the budget, while seeking further cuts to the chorus.

Chief exec Cressida Pollock has given back 30 percent of her salary. Other managers took a 20 percent cut.

Communications director Thomas Coops will leave the company and will not be replaced.

(Oddly, his job will be merged with the director of marketing and audience engagement, ENO’s weakest spot).

cressida pollock

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  • Cressida Pollock has not suddenly taken a salary hit. She means she earns 30 per cent less than she earned in previous role. This “gesture” is yet more spin.

    Irrespective of any of that I would like to know what her actual salary is. I’m willing to bet it’s more than double the 25k being offered to the chorus.

    • It’s a nice photo. But thanks for setting off a train of troll-esque replies that are perhaps more than a little symptomatic of a barely concealed collective misogyny.

      • You’re welcome. And thank you for the analysis, even if you needed 11 words to get from “are” to “misogyny.”

        • Thanks for appropriating my irony. I take your response to be a more nuanced but clearer expression, or iteration, of the shamefulness of your shamelessness.

          • Just to clarify for readers: my first post was in no way intended to express approval for the messages that arose in response to what OLASSUS wrote on March 2, 2016 at 10:27 am.

            I write this is in order to ensure that my original message is not misunderstood in itself, or as a result of the way it was appropriated by OLASSUS in the message they wrote on March 3, 2016 at 8:30 am.

            So please be clear that I in no way accept, approve or condone the original message by OLASSUS. Nor do I accept, approve or condone in any way the increasingly ugly tone of the subsequently posted messages.

            My expressed intent in my original message, just in case it was not self-evident, was to say that:

            1. I like the image.

            By way of an ironic aside, I ‘thanked’ OLASSUS for setting in motion the subsequent inappropriate messages. It should be obvious that I was not actually thankful to OLASSUS for what subsequently happened. Please understand that because OLASSUS appears to have appropriated this, to try to make it an ‘affirmation’ it is somewhat troubling, to say the least.

            I do not approve of misogyny in any shape or form.

            I hope other people who post on the forum will not encourage it, whether directly through posting misogynistic comments, or through twisting other peoples words.

            But hopefully messages on the forum will be moderated before they sink further into barbarism.

  • Pay freezes and pay cuts have been taking place across UK arts management for some years now, as the ACE and other cuts bite. Mostly, they’ve been taken on the chin by some of the lowest-paid people, working the longest hours in the UK arts (and below senior management level and outside the BBC, most arts administrators are lucky to earn in the low £20ks – with working weeks of 50hrs+ not atypical. Paid overtime? Don’t make me laugh).

    There’ve been no petitions or well-connected media contacts lobbying for them. No, they’re the dispensable, unloved “suits” – never enough of them when there’s sponsorship to be raised, but always first to be hung out to dry as soon as the artists are asked to make similar sacrifices.

  • So the CEO takes a greater pay cut – both in percentage and real terms – than the chorus.

    How cruel and selfish these management types are!

    • If someone is making 100K — pounds, Euros, whatever — and takes a 30% cut, they are now making 70K. If someone makes 25K and takes a 20% cut, they are now making 20K.

      I don’t know the specific numbers in this case, but I would guess that, after the cut, the CEO will probably still be able to make ends meet.

        • I didn’t mean to say the senior management pay cuts don’t have meaning, I was just trying to point out that there may be different things at stake for the different groups.

          (Not trying to be condescending either — sorry if it came across that way.)

        • You claimed the ENO chorus were ‘stealing from the organisation’ – so you patently can’t understand the figures or their significance.

  • Its not quite true to report that the management have taken a 20% pay cut. They are not replacing one member of the managment team which would reduce the management’s salary bill by 20%. Not the same as saying all members of the management are taking a 20% cut. That would be a grander gesture but, if my understanding is correct, that is not the case here.

  • Isn’t it about now they are supposed to be announcing the results of the search for the new Artistic Director??

    They badly need a talented and respected figure who can reverse the company’s fortunes. I strongly doubt Pollock’s ability to identify and hire such a figure, however.

  • Maybe someone who knows more than I might comment on the issue of length of season? How many houses have a 9 or 10 month programme?

    Vienna, of course. But they are unique.

    La Scala used to go from Sant’Ambrogio to May, but now start earlier, with more shows of not many more productions. The Liceu has taken it a step further : a November to March season when I lived there years ago is now a 9 month season with the popular shows triple cast and many fewer productions.The Met goes from September to late May. Both Chicago and San Francisco have shorter seasons by far The ROH season is nearly 11 months, but there’s lots of ballet, and much less opera than Vienna ,Munich or the Met.

    Should we criticise the ENO for going down a route other leading houses have chosen?

    • Exactly so, Robin. One of my wife’s conservatoire classmates has sung in the Scala chorus for many years now, and has taken Italian citizenship. The theatre has been a very responsible employer. They arranged private therapy for her son (who has health needs), they provided creche facilities when her son was small – and then, in tragic circumstances, they gave her their full support when she was unexpectedly widowed at a young age. There has never been the slightest question of layoffs or short-time working over the summer break.

      This is because the value of culture, and of the skilled performers who provide that culture is paramount in Italy. Although it is expected to pull its financial weight, it is not always expected to show a profit.

      It would be interesting to know if ENO have actually challenged the legality of altering existing employment contracts for its chorus members (or indeed, for the rest of the staff who will be next in the firing line in Phase B of the closedown)?

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