yes - if the musicians had been hired as year-to-year independent contractors with the expectation of an unbinding handshake deal that the contract would be renewed in perpetuity, there's really nothing "wrong" here - except the ridiculous situation that this is at all an equitable labor arrangement for anyone involved.On the other hand, in the UK at least, successive governments have tinkered both positively and negatively with employment rights. It's by no means the case that rights have merely been eroded. For example:
Whilst I get the 'irony' bit, it seems to me that the ETO is simply doing this year what it has done in previous years, and which no-one paid any attention to: freelancers were already being "sacked" from year to year, because that's the nature of its employment practice.
it should be relatively obvious why papers such as the Times/Telegraph/Daily Mail, and Norman Lebrecht, would rather not focus on the employment rights issue and focus on right wing culture war issues here.