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St David’s Hall in Cardiff could lose union recognition following take over

St David's Hall in Cardiff

STAFF at St David’s Hall in Cardiff claim they have been told by the company taking over the venue that they could lose union recognition.

Major music venue operator, Academy Music Group (AMG), is currently in the process of taking over the operation of the classical music venue.

Unison Wales released a statement on Tuesday, September 19, revealing claims by staff, some who have worked at St David’s Hall for more than 30 years, that AMG told them unions will no longer be recognised there.

Cardiff Council, the current operator of the venue, said discussions will take place with unions during the process of transferring the contracts of staff over to AMG.

According to Unison, a member of staff at St David’s Hall said: “I have been a member of a trade union working for Cardiff Council for more than 30 years and, through no choice of my own, this could come to an end.

“It’s vital to me and all my colleagues that we know we have the support of our union in the workplace.

“Unison has always been there for us and, without that safety net, we are all vulnerable.”

Unison Cardiff branch secretary, Emma Garson, said the union was shocked and appalled on hearing the claim that trade unions will not be recognised.

She said: “By supporting staff in all aspects of workplace discussions, trade unions can help to resolve issues before they escalate. This would also benefit the employer in the long run.”

St David’s Hall is currently closed due to the inspection of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in the building.

The material, which has recently been regarded with heightened safety concerns by the UK Government and resulted in the closure of dozens of schools across England and a few in Wales, is present in the ceiling of the venue.

By having the operation of St David’s Hall taken off its hands, the council could save up to £1m at a time when it is facing a budget gap of £24m.

However, there are some concerns that the change in operation and proposed alterations to the building itself could affect its world-class acoustics and status as a leading classical music venue.

A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “The council has been progressing a process to transfer St David’s Hall to AMG to secure investment in the building and to eliminate the circa £1m annual revenue cost of running the venue.

“Under this process, staff currently employed at the hall would transfer to AMG with their existing terms and conditions protected under TUPE legislation.

“In preparing for the transfer, discussions will take place with unions. The specific nature of any agreement is yet to be finalised and would need to be agreed between the unions and AMG before the staff transfer.

“However, the forced closure of St David’s Hall, due to the change in government advice relating to the use of RAAC in buildings, has delayed this process for the time being.

“The way forward will depend on the level of intervention required, if required.

“In the meantime the council will continue to work with all stakeholders to resolve any concerns, and will hold regular meetings with staff to keep them abreast of the situation as it unfolds.”

AMG has been approached for a comment.