Katherine Hearst 0

National Theatre Staff Support the Climate Strikers, Nov 29th

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The climate strike on September 20th saw 7.6 million people across the world take to the streets to protest global climate inaction.

The staff at the National Theatre, Southbank Centre and the Tate responded to the school strikers' call to action by staging a walk-out and marching under the banner 'Art Workers Support the Climate Strikers.'

We are writing to you again, firstly to thank management for their support for our action on September 20th, and to congratulate them on their decision to declare a Climate Emergency and end the theatre’s partnership with Shell.

Secondly, to renew our request for support for the upcoming strike date on November 29th. In our previous letter, we outlined the barriers that prevent casual staff from participating in the climate movement - the main one being, the financial and emotional toll of zero hour contract work.

We noted that the majority of staff who participated in the action on September 20th were contracted workers. While there were a few of us from FOH, many of us could not participate due to the fact that we are constrained to work multiple jobs or simply cannot afford to lose a paycheck. In order for us to show up in large numbers, we require financial support.

The Royal Court granted its workers 2 hours paid leave to participate in the last Climate Strike date on September 20th which emboldened greater numbers of FOH staff to attend. We believe that the National has the same duty of care to its casual staff members and adequate resources to do the same.

We therefore request that:

-Management take its lead from the Royal Court and grant their FOH staff 2 hours paid work stoppage on November 29th in order to ensure that casual staff can participate in the next strike date as freely and securely as contracted workers.

-A staff-led ‘town-hall’ meeting be held at the theatre before the strike date, and that management support us in our efforts to engage members of staff who were unable to attend the last action.

Based on our experience of organising for the action on September 20th, we believe this work is essential in empowering casual staff- the most vulnerable employees at the NT, to engage meaningfully in the climate movement.

Without this engagement, we believe the National’s ability to contribute meaningfully to the growing climate movement in the arts will be severely limited.

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