The Brighton Centre could shut for weeks from mid-June if workers vote to strike over under-staffing and safety concerns- threatening the Pet Shop Boys’ gig.
The GMB union is balloting its members in the venue’s supervisors department and its venue services assistants after being told understaffing is so widespread staff are struggling to work safely.
And it says if members vote yes, the walkout could effectively shut the venue for all music and conferencing throughout the second half of June and into July.
The GMB itself is holding its annual conference at the Brighton Centre from 4 to 8 June, before any proposed strike action would take place.
GMB B50 branch secretary Mark Turner said: “The team which work at nights often at heights, operating plant equipment which requires specialist, recognised training and certification for the setting up and breaking down of sets, staging and the event centres seating, have raised concerns over being so understaffed that they are struggling to maintain safe working practices.
“They are finding that casual staff brought in to top up staffing levels are often not fully trained meaning with staff shortages that at times they often can end up unsupervised and fending for themselves when trying to Breakdown, assemble and even repair both staging and seating.
“Our members are telling us that if you then add poor and aging equipment and fixtures into the mix along with an increasing number of repairs at times needed that it’s getting so bad that they are not sure if they can guarantee the public’s safety at events any longer.
“No one though at the centre or the council is listening to them, so taking strike action could now be the only option remaining to them.
“Let’s hope that common sense prevails, and the council look to invest appropriately in both the venues equipment and the staff working there to keep this iconic venue open, safe and earning for the city.”
Events at the Brighton Centre from mid-June into July
Comedian Jack Whitehall – 13 – 15 June
Rock band The War on Drugs – 17 June
YouTuber Tommyinnit – 18 June
Pet Shop Boys – 26 June
18th European Congress of Psychology – 3-6 July
University of Sussex Summer Graduations – 17-21 July
University of Brighton Summer Graduations – 24-28 July