Ongoing turmoil at opera houses in Florence and Rome

Posted on: November 18, 2014

“Another of Italy’s major opera houses, Florence’s Maggio Musicale, has just announced it will lay off 53 technical and administrative full-time staffers,” reports Carlo Vitali in Friday’s (11/14) “The Maggio is to start negotiations with the unions immediately to single out those ‘redundant’ staffers; firings will take place within 120 days after their list is agreed upon. One particularly controversial issue is that the law is retroactive; workers who are dismissed will be required to return money from paychecks dating from November 2014.” In Tuesday’s (11/18) New York Times, meanwhile, Rachel Donadio reports that management of the Rome Opera has “backed away from its proposal to fire 182 musicians and hire them back as freelancers … [in] an agreement with the musicians that would keep them on staff in exchange for pay cuts and a pledge not to go on strike…. The closely watched standoff is emblematic of the troubled state of opera in Italy. It was also seen as a test case for labor relations in the country, whose government has been struggling to change laws to make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers…. The opera said that the agreement would save 3 million euros, or about $3.8 million, a year and would require the musicians to take cuts to overtime pay and bonuses.”

Posted November 18, 2014