Theatre on Sundays issue goes to Labour Court

Theater director Erik UlfsbyDet Norske Teatret.Theater director Erik Ulfsby: Photo:

A dispute about what legislation will be applicable to showing theatre on Sundays will be dealt with in the Labour Court on Wednesday.

The Norwegian Actors Federation which has called Det Norske Teatret. The question to be tested is not whether the theatre should play on Sundays or not, but which agreement will apply.
‘Most Norwegian theatres play Sundays, so it’s not controversial. The Labour Court will decide whether we have the opportunity to do this locally, as we have done here at the theatre.
The actors believes that work on Sundays should be regulated by a central agreement, said Erik Ulfsby, theatre director of Det Norske Teatret to NTB news agency.
The actors union called Det Norske Teatret to the Labour Court after local agreement on Sunday work expired in April last year.
When Det Norske Teatret wanted to extend it, and introduce theatre on Sunday as a fixed order, the actors reacted.
‘We believe that Det Norske Teatret shows Sunday performances to an extent contrary to the agreement we have,’ said Knut Alfsen, associate leader of the Norwegian Actors Association.
He also emphasised that the case does not apply to the playing of Sunday shows.
‘Even within the current agreement, Sunday performances are permitted, but the question is to what extent it can happen,’ he said.
Theatre director, Erik Ulfsby, said that for him it is important to emphasise that there is no conflict at Det Norske Teatret about showing plays on Sundays.
‘It’s a misconception that this has resulted in our actors getting less free time. They do not have less free time. We have changed the work arrangements so that our actors now have more free weekends than they had before.

They play, on average, three Sundays per year. In return, they have been allowed to be free every Saturday, and are also free on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and May the 17th, days that other theatre’s show plays.

Our actors are much better off with the system we now have. They also get extra financial compensation for Sunday plays,’ said Ulfsby.
Det Norske Teatret has played on Sundays since the autumn of 2013. The first show was the children’s performance ‘Tonje Glimmerdal’.
‘We wished to play on Sunday because we want a theatre that is open more than it is closed. Sundays are a demanding day, not least for families with children. But we play all kinds of shows on Sundays. It’s going very well and has given the theatre increased revenue. These are revenues that help increase production and add more artists’, said Erik Ulfsby.
The Labour Court is to look at the interpretation of a clause in the agreement for theatres relating to leisure and work. In addition to Det Norske Teatret, the Actors Association have hosted other Norwegian Theatre, and the Orchestra Association and Spekter. The Labour Court in Oslo have set aside three days for the matter.



Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today