The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has negotiated new salary and working arrangements with its musicians and administration staff in response to the massive loss of income sustained as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

All current employees will be retained on contract, and will work reduced hours on reduced salaries, so that they are ready to return to public performances as soon as government restrictions are lifted and concert halls reopen.

The new arrangements – which will operate until December 31, 2021 – were voted for by 99 percent of the Orchestra’s musicians and administrative staff. The arrangements were certified by the Fair Work Commission on May 4 and were implemented immediately.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Photograph © Keith Saunders

The 2020 and 2021 seasons were already looking challenging for the SSO since the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House, where it usually performs, is closed during that period for renovations. What’s more, the Orchestra reported an operating loss of $2.2 million in 2018. (The 2019 annual report is expected soon).

The Sydney Symphony opened its 2020 season at the Sydney Town Hall, but it hasn’t been able to perform live since March 16 due...