MOLA archaeologists to strike over pay

10 December 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.

There will be a single picket in London at Mortimer Wheeler House on Hoxton, London.

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 senior management’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 given by management to settle a pay 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 a progression rise in addition to a cost-of-living award.

Prospect is 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.

Mike Clancy, Prospect general secretary, said:

“Our members are striking because of the way they have been treated by the company.

“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.”

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Kate Faccia is an archaeologist with MOLA. She says she’s striking because, despite being highly qualified, she is struggling to make ends meet to live in London.

Read Kate’s story

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 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.)