Chief Conductor and orchestra support their colleagues in the Berlin Radio Choir.

Members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and their Chief Conductor Sir Simon Rattle have expressed their support for striking colleagues in the Berlin Radio Choir. Posing for a photo on the picket line Sir Simon held a banner saying: “Auch Sänger sind Musiker” (singers are also musicians).

Sir Simon Rattle with members of the BPO and Berlin Radio Choir (photo Peter Adamik)

The iconic choir, one of the very finest in the world, has been working for the last 21 years without a valid collective pay agreement. The last salary increase was ten years ago.

Members of the Radio Choir have been taking strike action since before the summer break in protest over a lack of action on a new pay deal that has been two years in negotiation. The new agreement was hammered out with the German Orchestra Association (DOV) and the German Theatre Association, but two major stakeholders – the City of Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany – have so far refused to sign.

The Choir has agreed to suspend strike action temporarily to allow them to sing with the Berlin Phil and Rattle in up-coming performances of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. In return, several orchestra members donned picket-line jackets for the photo in front of Berlin’s Philharmonie concert hall.

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