RSA workers set to strike again as pay dispute continues

07 Nov 2023 News

Close-up protester with megaphone for demonstration


Four more days of industrial action have been announced at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) as a pay dispute with employees at the charity continues. 

In September, RSA workers went on strike for the first time since the charity was founded 270 years ago.

Members of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) at the charity took further industrial action last month after failing to negotiate pay terms.

The IWGB has now announced that the charity’s next strike dates will be on 20-23 November.

IWGB gained statutory union recognition at RSA in March this year after the charity rejected its voluntary applications. Since then, it has been trying to negotiate pay increases for its members at the charity. 

RSA employees have asked for a flat pay rise of £2,800 for all employees. The charity counter-offered £1,000, according to the union, which its members refused.

The union said that it represents 85 employees at the charity, making them eligible to strike. 

According to RSA’s latest filed accounts, the charity had an average headcount of 114 staff in the year to March 2023.

Last financial year, RSA’s staff costs increased by 7% to £5.83m, while its highest paid member of staff earned between £180,000 and £190,000.

RSA: ‘Disappointing’

A spokesperson from RSA told Civil Society: “It was disappointing to receive notification of further strikes from IWGB of some of our staff team. For them this means further loss of income at a time when everyone is already feeling cost of living pressures.  

“Our average pay offer to staff in the bargaining unit this year is 7%, which is above the rate of inflation. We have urged the union to engage in conciliatory discussions facilitated by ACAS so that concerns can be resolved quickly and amicably in the best interests of our charity, our exceptional staff team and our fellows.
“For the past six months, we have been absolutely clear and consistent about our approach to pay issues. Our aim is to do the very best we can to support our staff team and their well-being, while at the same time ensuring the financial sustainability of the charity.”

Union: ‘We will continue to strike’

IWGB members said: “So far, the response of management in this dispute has been incredibly disappointing.

“They have failed to come to the table with a serious pay offer, and refuse to engage with the union – betraying the very values that brought so many of us to the RSA in the first place.

“We will continue to strike until the hard-working staff that make the RSA such a respected institution are paid fairly for their incredible contribution to the organisation.”

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