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Orchestra Section

The work of the Orchestra Stewards and the Roving Stewards is vital in representing you to your employer and is a prime example of a union run by members for its members.

Last updated: 19 July 2021

More than 30 Orchestra Stewards are embedded within the major orchestras and eight Roving Orchestra Stewards work as freelance players across the UK. They look after the collective representation of MU orchestral members, and negotiate fees, rates of pay and conditions with all the major UK orchestras, engagers and organisations, alongside the MU Officials. 

The MU has over 40 agreements with different orchestras, from small chamber outfits to large symphony, opera and ballet orchestras. So, if you are offered work with an orchestra, you can reference the rates of pay you will receive and conditions you’ll be working under. 

The MU Orchestra Section has five consultative committees, which cover a range of orchestra agreements. The work of the Orchestra Stewards and the Roving Stewards is vital in representing you to your employer and is a prime example of a union run by members for its members. They dictate through the consultative committees directly what the wider MU brings up in negotiation and are balloted as to whether to accept changes or not.  

Freelance Orchestral Committee 

The MU Freelance Orchestral Committee (FOC) exists to represent the views of the self-employed orchestral community.  Members of the FOC are nominated from the 2,000 freelance members of the MU Orchestra Section.   

If you want to take a more hands-on approach to the way your pay and terms are negotiated you are welcome to seek nomination to join the FOC - just contact the MU orchestra department via email: orchestral@themu.org

Stewards of Freelance Orchestras Committee

Many freelance orchestras have an agreement with the MU though some follow the ABO Agreement often with bespoke internal policies in one area or another, particularly in the self-governing orchestras. Most of them have an MU Steward.

The MU Stewards of Freelance Orchestras Committee (SFOC) and its sub-committee for the London Self-Governing Orchestras brings together the stewards of freelance orchestras small and large who are not served by other consultative committees in order to share best practice and help us organise more effectively.

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