Oboist wins unfair dismissal suit against Welsh National Opera

Posted on: July 31, 2012

In Tuesday’s (7/31) Daily Mail (North Wales, U.K.), Anna Edwards writes, “After a marathon campaign the former principal oboist from the Welsh National Opera has proved he was unfairly sacked. Now judges at the Court of Appeal have urged the warring woodwind section of the company to return to harmony after they ruled that Murray ‘Sandy’ Johnston was unfairly dismissed. Talented Mr. Johnston, 63, was sacked after 34 years in the ranks of the WNO on grounds that the sound of his instrument did not ‘blend’ with the rest of the orchestra. … The musician claimed his career with WNO began to wane following a personality clash with former musical director, Carlo Rizzi. … His dismissal came after the WNO said that aspect of his playing could not be tested by audition with a pianist to accompany him but only in ‘full ensemble conditions’. Although the WNO purported to follow the disciplinary procedure laid down in its handbook, it did not comply with the opera’s agreement with the Musicians Union, which was designed to protect musicians from ‘too subjective an assessment’ of their artistic performance. … After today’s decision the case will now return to an employment tribunal for the amount of compensation payable by the WNO to Mr. Johnston to be assessed.”

Posted July 31, 2012