Staff on strike outside the Science Museum in London

High turn-out for Science Museum Group strike

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 04.09.2019
Further action could be announced next week
A large number of staff took part in a strike against low pay at six Science Museum Group (SMG) sites across England last week.

The strike came at the end of a week of industrial action, which included work to rule and the withdrawal of goodwill. Employees are protesting after receiving a pay increase of at least 1.5% in the current financial year, which they say is inadequate.

According to Prospect union, which represents the employees, an average full-time employed salary grew by 1.6% per year between 2014 and 2018 - a cut of 13% in real terms. In comparison, the director's salary grew 5.5% yearly in the same period. At the lowest end of the scale the SMG pays 30p less than the Real Living Wage, according to the union.

"The strike itself was very well observed and we had a really good turnout in London especially, with some of the most amazing geeky placards you have ever seen," said a Prospect spokesman. "New members are joining [Prospect] all the time at the museums."

The union spokesman said there had been no update on the next steps as of yet. "We’re waiting for the company to engage, which they have so far not done in any meaningful way. I would expect if we don’t see movement in the next week or so we will be announcing further action," he said.

The SMG said 23% of the staff involved in this year's pay settlement had received a 6.9% pay increase. The organisation also emphasised other enhancements that have been made to employee benefits over the past year, including additional pension investment, interest-free loans and a career break scheme.

A spokeswoman said before the strike: “Overall the settlement represents a 2.7% increase in salary costs, which we believe was a reasonable offer, given the challenging overall financial picture.”

The SMG has been contacted for comment.

Comments