Met Opera orchestra musicians set to strike?

13 May 2014, 14:59

A vote by members of the orchestra of the New York Metropolitan Opera has authorised the use of strike action, it has been confirmed.

Members of the orchestra who are part of the American Federation of Musicians have voted to authorise a strike should contractual renegotiations with the Met break down.

During a performance over the weekend the musicians wore special buttons on their concert wear to symbolise their current industrial struggles. 

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Currently, the Met are attempting to cut costs as a result of a fall in ticket sales. The contracts are being negotiated "in good faith" according to Union spokesperson Tino Gagliardi.

Clarinettist Jessica Phillips Rieske (also the chairwoman of the orchestra's negotiating committee) told the New York Times: "We remain hopeful that the negotiations will have a positive outcome."

She continued, arguing that quality musicians need to be paid for: "To maintain this level of quality, the Metropolitan Opera must compensate its musicians at a standard that allows this ensemble to continue to attract and retain world-class talent."

The vote to authorise strike action took place yesterday, shortly after the contractual negotiations began. The contractual period ends in July.