Three further days of strike action announced at RSA

21 Feb 2024 News

Close-up protester with megaphone for demonstration


New strike dates have been announced at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), over an ongoing pay dispute.

RSA workers went on strike in September last year, before taking further industrial action in October and November, after failing to negotiate pay terms.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) this week announced that its members will take part in three further days of strike action on 26, 27, and 28 February outside RSA House, with timings yet to be announced.

This comes as IWGB members are also asking members of the public, fellows of the RSA, politicians and universities not to attend RSA events or participate in research with the charity until their ongoing industrial dispute is resolved. 

Speakers including wildlife broadcaster Chris Packham and former Greece finance minister Yanis Varoufakis pulled out of engagements at the RSA earlier this month in support of the charity’s staff.

This week, actors’ union Equity announced a boycott in support of striking staff. Paul Fleming, general secratary, expressed “unreserved solidarity” with workers, and said Equity would continue attending as many protests and pickets as possible.

An IWGB spokesperson said: “Though RSA management claim publicly that negotiations with the union are ongoing, the reality of the situation is very different. We are still yet to hear when we can meet to resolve the dispute and there is still no serious pay offer on the table after a year of this dispute dragging on.

“We were disappointed that management chose not to avoid strike action next week by putting an offer on the table, and if all the RSA can muster up is paying lip service to potential future meetings that may or may not happen, or alluding to ‘ongoing negotiations’ through vague online statements, then the RSA boycott and strike action will continue.”

The RSA told Civil Society it is having ongoing discussions this month to try to conciliate.

In a statement published earlier in the month, the charity said: “We have been in a period of negotiation with IWGB for the across-the-board pay award for this financial year for the group of staff they represent (the bargaining unit). We have not reached agreement at this stage.

“Our aim is to do the very best we can to support our staff team and their wellbeing, while at the same time ensuring the financial sustainability of the RSA both of which are essential to our success. We must comply too with our legal obligations as a charity.”

On the boycotts, a spokesperson for the charity said last week it was “disappointed that a couple of speakers have pulled out” of the events.

Editor's Note: This article was updated with comment from IWGB and information from the RSA.

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