MOLA archaeologists to strike over pay

29 Nov 2019

Prospect members at Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) are to strike on 11 December in the first of a series of one-day strikes in a dispute over pay. Action short of a strike including work to rule will also  commence on 11 December.

MOLA executive managers imposed a 2.5% pay award in June even though it had been rejected by union members. Members have reported difficulty paying for rent, mortgages, childcare, travel and even food.

MOLA says there is no more money but has not released any financial information to back up this claim. The last publicly-available accounts show that the Executive Team’s earnings were over £820,000pa.

The dispute also concerns a pay structure that MOLA executive management promised would be in place by April 2019. The undertaking was made by management to settle an industrial dispute last year but they have broken this promise. Had the pay structure been in place as promised then staff would have expected to receive an incremental rise in addition to a cost-of-living award.

Prospect is calling for calling for MOLA executive management and Trustees to reopen negotiations to improve the pay award and to discuss the urgent introduction of a pay system that will allow staff to progress through the pay scale for their role/grade.

Garry Graham, Prospect deputy general secretary, said:

“MOLA is in crisis with experienced staff leaving and market share in London going to its main competitor which pays archaeologists £2,000 more per year.

“Industrial action is the only avenue left to members to improve things. Executive managers continue to ignore the views of staff and the impact their pay policy and management style is having on MOLA as a whole. Maybe now managers will listen.”

Notes to editors:


78% voted in favour of strike action, 22% against.

94% voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike, 6% against.

Turnout was well over the legal threshold.

MOLA Workplaces

  • Mortimer Wheeler House, 46 Eagle Wharf Road, London, N1 7ED
  • Unit 2, Chineham Point, Crockford Lane, Chineham, Basingstoke, RG24 8NA
  • 66 Bootham, York, YO30 7BZ
  • Kent House, 30A Billing Road, Northampton, NN1 5DQ
  • Bolton House, Mereway, Northampton, NN4 8BN


MOLA undertakes archaeological work on behalf of clients in London and further afield. MOLA has worked on road schemes financed by the government and other clients have included Crossrail and HS2. MOLA has around 300 staff.

A recent report commissioned by the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO:UK) estimates archaeologists save the construction industry £1.3bn a year, and that commercial archaeology contributes £218m to the economy with 4,500 working in the sector. (Source: Rocks-Macqueen, D and Lewis, B, 2019 Archaeology in Development Management – its contribution in England, Scotland & Wales, Landward Research Ltd, July 2019.)

About Prospect

Prospect represents 140,000 members in the public and private sectors working as engineers, scientists, managers and specialists in areas as diverse as agriculture, communications, defence, entertainment, energy, environment, heritage, industry, media and transport. It is the largest union in the UK representing professional engineers. It has over 30,000 members working for government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies.