Science Museum Group workers striking today over pay

30 Aug 2019

Museum workers taking action over pay.

Prospect union members in the Science Museum Group (SMG) are taking industrial action over an ongoing pay dispute and will be on strike today (Friday 30 August 2019)

•             24-29 August 2019 – action short of strike including work-to-rule and the withdrawal of good will.

•             30 August 2019 – 24 hours strike.

The action is taking place after SMG failed to come up with an improved offer after imposing a below-inflation pay rise of 1.5% for most staff earlier this year – the latest in a series of below-inflation pay rises which have left workers across the sector with a 13% real terms pay cut since 2010. Members voted to reject that deal and subsequently voted overwhelmingly for industrial action.

At the lowest end of the scale SMG still does not pay the real living wage, in London or elsewhere. Other national museums do, including the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert. If museums next door can afford to pay the real living wage then so can SMG, especially when annual reports show the group in significant surplus.

Senior management salary growth has also vastly outstripped median salary growth. Between 2014 and 2018 the average full time employed salary at SMG grew by just 1.6% per year while the director’s salary grew by 5.5% per year. In that period the number of people at the SMG earning over £100,000 a year doubled from four to eight and the director has received annual bonuses worth more than many workers earn in a year.

It is not the intention of members to close the museums as a result of the action, rather to highlight the concerns of staff and the valuable contribution that they make.

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said:

“The Science Museum Group has some of the highest profile museums in the country and as beacons of human progress it is ludicrous that they don’t pay all their workers enough to live on.

“Our members in SMG love their jobs but they cannot carry on with year after year of real terms pay cuts and that is why they felt they had no option but to strike.

“I’m sure that most of the million or so people visiting SMG museums this summer will be astounded at how poorly its staff are paid, especially when they see that the director’s pay has increased by a third in just four years and his bonus alone last year was more than some workers earn in total.

“It is clear from the accounts that SMG can afford to pay a reasonable wage. It’s time for management to sort this out so our members can get on with the jobs they love.”