Melbourne Symphony furloughs musicians and staff; remaining employees to receive pay cuts

Posted on: April 17, 2020

“The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has told its musicians that they will be stood down without pay next week,” writes Nick Miller in Tuesday’s (4/14) The Age (Australia). “The MSO will keep only ‘essential’ employees on staff during the lockdown, MSO chair Michael Ullmer said in a letter sent to employees on Tuesday, and these would take a 20 per cent salary cut…. The MSO intends to bring back all employees including the musicians once the crisis is over, a spokeswoman said…. The MSO [faced] a flood of cancellations and no-shows at its Chinese New Year concert in early February…. When the state enforced a 500 capacity limit for events in mid-March the MSO cancelled its season. The MSO board met on Monday and concluded their financial situation ‘continues to deteriorate.’ … The MSO said it would also keep paying musicians’ superannuation [retirement fund]. The musician stand-down will take effect on Monday—12 administrative staff have already been stood down. The MSO is in the process of applying for access to the JobKeeper employee support scheme, however it said the process ‘may involve some delay’ and payments would not start to flow through until the end of April.”