Members of the chorus of the Israeli Opera of Tel Aviv-Jaffa are fighting back against proposed layoffs, The Jerusalem Post reports.
At least 55 of the 62 members received letters on Thursday summoning them to hearings that are a preliminary requirement before a layoff. The members have been furloughed since early in the pandemic, and there is still not date set for when the opera will resume operations.
A spokesman from Shaham, the Israeli Actors’ Association said that the opera announced its plan to lay off the members after breaking off negotiations on a new contract, as a way to save money by hiring replacement singers at cheaper rates as freelancers in the future.
“Our assumption is that the opera management chooses to fire the chorus now rather than later in order to dismantle the chorus singers’ organization,” said a Shaham spokesperson.
The opera management released a statement denying this claim and said that they were taking precautions to preserve the singers’ health during the COVID-19 crisis.
However, the members argued in a statement that, “If it had taken care of the singers as it says, the opera management could have assured the singers that it would return to employ them under the same collective conditions, which was not done.”
The Culture Ministry released a statement on Thursday saying that both sides should return to negotiate as soon as possible.